Tuesday 18 March 2014

Magnitude 4.7 Earthquake in northwest Xinjiang Province, China.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 4.7 Earthquake at a depth of 41.5 km in the Tian Shan Mountains of northwestern Xinjiang Province, China, at about 0.35 am local time on Tuesday 18 March 2014 (about 4.35 pm on Monday 17 March GMT). An Earthquake of this size at this depth is unlikely to have caused any damage or casualties, particularly given the remote location of the event.

The approximate location of the 18 March 2014 Xinjiang Earthquake. Google Maps.

The Tian Shan Mountains stretch for 2500 km across Xinjiang, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The Tian Shan are part of the Himalayan Orogenic Belt, mountains in Central Asia pushed upwards by the collision of India and Asia. The Indian Plate is currently pushing into the Eurasian Plate from the south at a rate of 3 cm per year. Since both are continental plates, which do not subduct, the Eurasian Plate is folding and buckling, causing uplift in the Himalayas and other mountains of Central Asia. This is not a smooth process, the rocks will remain effectively stationary for log periods of time while pressure builds up, then give suddenly, releasing large amounts of energy in the form of Earthquakes.

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