starting point
himalayan lands
geologic past
environmental problems
flora and fauna

traveler's corner
guided tour

Data central
search the site
test your knowledge
about the site

Environmental Problems

General Info

Man-made problems
 ·  Forest degradation
 ·  Overgrazing
 ·  Fires
 ·  Quarrying
 ·  Landslides
 ·  Mountaineering
 ·  Trekking
 ·  Road construction

Natural Processes
 ·  Glaciers
 ·  Avalanches
 ·  River and stream erosion

The Himalayas - where earth meets sky
Environmental problems

Earthquakes pose the greatest threat to the Himalayan region. Almost the entire Himalayas are prone to high seismic activity or earthquakes. Earthquakes have hit the region several times in the past and similar threats remain inevitable in the future too.

The Himalayas, as we know, were formed by the head-on collision of Indian and Eurasian plates. The mountain building process is still going on because the Indian plate is still moving towards the Eurasian plate. The Indian plate is pushing the Asian plate northward at the rate of about 2 cm per year. This means that in every 100 years India moves 200 cm north against the Asian plate. This colliding force builds up pressure continually for several years and this pressure is released in the form of earthquakes from time to time.

Usually the barren cold desert regions have experienced less devastation from earthquakes than other parts of the Himalayan mountain chain, probably due to the low population.

Four major earthquakes have occurred in the Himalayan region in the past 100 years. The famous earthquake that hit Nepal in 1933 A.D. killed thousands of people in Nepal and northern India. Several earthquakes have occurred since that time.

The Indian Himalayas have experienced some significantly strong earthquakes in the last few decades.

Kinnaur Earthquake (1975)
This earthquake struck in the early afternoon of January 19, 1975. It caused havoc in parts of the Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti regions of India. It is believed to have been caused by movements along a fault known as the Kaurik fault. This quake killed hundreds of people and caused severe damage to property.

A massive landslide was triggered off by this earthquake near Maling in the Spiti Valley. Another giant landslide blocked the Paro chu River near Sumdo. Many smaller occurrences of slope failure were caused by this earthquake. As a result, communications remained disrupted for several days and helicopter services had to be pressed into operation to bring relief to the worst-affected areas.

Dharchula Earthquake (1980)
This was another devastating earthquake that struck Dharchula and surrounding areas of the Pithoragarh District in the Kumaon Himalayas. It occurred in December 1980. Displacement along a deep-seated fault is believed to have been the cause of this quake that affected parts of the inner dry valleys of Pithoragarh District.

Uttarkashi Earthquake (1991)
In the early morning hours of October 14, 1991, a severe earthquake shook Uttarkashi and Chamoli districts of Garhwal. It caused widespread loss of life and property. This earthquake also affected other parts of Garhwal and Kinnaur. The regions remained cut off from the rest of the world for several days due to the debris. Landslides occurred at several locations, and it took a significant amount of time for people to recover from this incident.

Previous Topicmap top of page Index Next Topic
Make a submission View new Stories

© 1997 ThinkQuest team 10131
All rights reserved