Wednesday 20 November 2013

Magnitude 4.6 Earthquake in northeast Yunnan Province, China.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 4.6 Earthquake at a depth of 29.9 km in Huize County in the northeast of Yunnan Province, China, slightly after 11.35 pm local time (slightly after 3.35 pm GMT, on Saturday 16 November 2013. There are no reports of any damage or casualties arising from this quake, but it is likely to have been felt locally. 

The approximate location of the 16 November 2013 Huize County Earthquake. Google Maps.

Much of western China and neighbouring areas of Central Asia and the Himalayas, are prone to Earthquakes caused by the impact of the Indian Plate into Eurasia from the south. The Indian Plate is moving northwards at a rate of 5 cm per year, causing it to impact into Eurasia, which is also moving northward, but only at a rate of 2 cm per year. When two tectonic plates collide in this way and one or both are oceanic then one will be subducted beneath the other (if one of the plates is continental then the other will be subducted), but if both plates are continental then subduction will not fully occur, but instead the plates will crumple, leading to folding and uplift (and quite a lot of Earthquakes). The collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates has lead to the formation of the Himalayan Mountains, the Tibetan Plateau, and the mountains of southwest China, Central Asia and the Hindu Kush.

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