MIT and Dartmouth scientists have identified a previously unrecognized, active fault in the Nepalese Himalayas. The discovery, published in the April 21 issue of Nature, provides new insights into how the mountains evolved and helps explain why the transition between the high Himalayan Ranges and their gently sloping foothills is so abrupt.
"This project started with the simple observation that the landscape of the central Nepalese Himalaya seems to be telling us something about deformation at depth in the Earths crust," said Cameron Wobus, lead author on the paper and a graduate student in MITs Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS).
"The interdisciplinary approach weve taken to the problem has confirmed this intuition, and has demonstrated the existence of a surface-breaking thrust fault many kilometers north of where most geologists believe active deformation is focused. Its an exciting development and it forces us to think more creatively about how mountain ranges like the Himalaya evolve."
Elizabeth Thomson | EurekAlert!
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