Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Previously unknown fault provides new insights on Himalayan mountain building

10.05.2005


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 Earth’s crust," said Cameron Wobus, lead author on the paper and a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS).

"The interdisciplinary approach we’ve 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. It’s an exciting development and it forces us to think more creatively about how mountain ranges like the Himalaya evolve."


Wobus’ co-authors are EAPS Professors Kelin Whipple and Kip Hodges, and Assistant Professor Arjun Heimsath of Dartmouth.

The newly discovered fault is at the southern edge of the high Himalayan ranges in central Nepal, about 60 miles northwest of Katmandu. Farther south, the landscape is characterized by gently sloping hills. The researchers discovered that there is a sharp change in both erosion and rock uplift rates across the fault. The erosion rates to the north are four times higher than those to the south.

As a result, they speculate that there may be a feedback mechanism between erosion and tectonic deformation. Hodges notes that this is a new perspective on mountain building. "Rapid erosion related to the Indian monsoon is most intense at the approximate position of the newly discovered fault. Our hypothesis is that the modern geodynamics of the range front is indicative of coordinated high precipitation and active deformation. And it would be a very exciting development if we are right that deformational processes close to the surface of the Earth are interdependent with climatic processes."

Such a relationship is consistent with theory, according to Whipple, but "definitive field evidence for this sort of dynamic feedback has been elusive. Our work in Nepal moves us toward a better resolution of the strength of climate-tectonics interactions and the temporal and spatial scales over which they operate."

Elizabeth Thomson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mit.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht The melting ice makes the sea around Greenland less saline
16.10.2017 | Aarhus University

nachricht WSU researchers document one of planet's largest volcanic eruptions
12.10.2017 | Washington State University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

Im Focus: New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater

Hybrid material converts more sunlight and can weather seawater's harsh conditions

It's possible to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells by extracting the gas from seawater, but the electricity required to do it makes the process costly. UCF...

Im Focus: Small collisions make big impact on Mercury's thin atmosphere

Mercury, our smallest planetary neighbor, has very little to call an atmosphere, but it does have a strange weather pattern: morning micro-meteor showers.

Recent modeling along with previously published results from NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft -- short for Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

Conference Week RRR2017 on Renewable Resources from Wet and Rewetted Peatlands

28.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A single photon reveals quantum entanglement of 16 million atoms

16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The melting ice makes the sea around Greenland less saline

16.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

On the generation of solar spicules and Alfvenic waves

16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>