Thursday 9 January 2014

Magnitude 4.7 Earthquake in Sichuan Province, China.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 4.7 Earthquake at a depth of 10.2 km, 109 km to the southwest of the city of Chengdu in Sichaun Province, China, slightly after 8.20 pm local time (slightly after 12.20 pm GMT) on Sunday 5 January 2014. There are no reports of any damage or casualties associated with this quake, though it is likely to have been felt locally.

The approximate location of the 5 January 2013 Sichuan 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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