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The Earth Shakes in Nepal

The Earth Shakes in Nepal

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Tuesday, April 28, 2015/Categories: natural history, environment

                 South Asia, the Himalayas, and Tibet  (credit: NASA, MODIS satellite image )

It is well known, Nepal just experienced a huge earthquake and many strong aftershocks. The
impact to the poor and mountainous country has been massive. So far over 5,000 people have died, roads, trekking routes, and   villages  completely disappeared as mountainsides collapsed, while ancient   temples  were turned into rubble. The potential for this destruction had been seismically predicted for a long time.

Nepal sits squarely along the line where two continental plates directly collide into each other..70 million years ago, a portion of the ancient continent Gondwana split away into to become India. The plate upon which India floated eventually slammed into the Asian continental plate forming a mountainous wall, the Himalayas. The vertical uplift produces earthquakes that continue to this day. By comparison, other continental.plates grind along each other moving in opposite directions such as in California, Chile, and the Pacific Rim.

The process is well presented by two into-graphics from the US Geological Service and the Washington Post.
                    Seismic and Continental Plate Map of Nepal  (credit: USGS)

  When Continental Plates Collide (credit: Washington Post )

The loss of lives and injuries are still be calculated as information is received from districts outside of Kathmandu but cultural losses to ancient Hindu and Buddhist temples and shrines has also been huge. A before and after image from the  Australian Broadcasting Corporation  shows the destruction to one complex in Patan, Nepal.

                        Hari Shankar Temple, Patan, Nepal before/after earthquake (credit: the ABC)

With so much destruction and the needs of the Nepali people so great it is often hard to know where to being if you wish to help. Large humanitarian organizations do help in natural disasters but there are also smaller, highly focused efforts that funnel individual donations directly to the people most affected.

Three innovative approaches, started by mountaineers with deep knowledge of and connections to Nepal include:  Connecting Need with Supply in Nepal  , the  Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation . and the  Himalayan Cataract Foundation   that operates a hospital in Nepal. These NGO's are worthy of your consideration and support.


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