Thursday 28 May 2020

Magnitude 3.8 Earthquake in Sechuan Province, China.

The China Earthquake Networks Center recorded a Magnitude 3.8 Earthquake at a depth of about 14 km in Mabian County in Yunnan Province, China, slightly before 8.35 pm local time (slightly before 12.35 pm GMT) on Tuesday 26 May 2020. This is a fairly minor Earthquake, and there are no reports of any casualties, but there are reports of some damage to buildings in the area.

The approximate location of the 26 May 2020 Sichuan Earthquake. USGS.

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.
 The movement of India into Eurasia over the last 71 million years. USGS.
Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these events, and the structures that cause them. The international non-profit organisation Earthquake Report is interested in hearing from people who may have felt this event; if you felt this quake then you can report it to Earthquake Report here.
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