I’ve long held a fascination with the majestic Himalayas, and indeed with Mount Everest. Around 5 years ago, when I visited Nepal, I cannot forget the first time I saw these awe-inspiring mountains. With the sheer scale and beauty of the scenery, it was an almost spiritual experience.
Nepal includes 8 of the highest 14 summits in the world, which exceed altitude of 8,000m including Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and others.
The Himalayas are among the youngest mountain ranges on the planet. According to the modern theory of plate tectonics, their formation is a result of a continental collision or orogeny along the convergent boundary between the Indo-Australian Plate and the Eurasian Plate. The collision began in the Upper Cretaceous period about 70 million years ago, when the north-moving Indo-Australian Plate, moving at about 15 cm/year, collided with the Eurasian Plate.
By about 50 million years ago this fast moving Indo-Australian plate had completely closed the Tethys Ocean, whose existence has been determined by sedimentary rocks settled on the ocean floor and the volcanoes that fringed its edges. Since these sediments were light, they crumpled into mountain ranges rather than sinking to the floor. The Indo-Australian plate continues to be driven horizontally below the Tibetan plateau, which forces the plateau to move upwards. The Arakan Yoma highlands in Myanmar and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal were also formed as a result of this collision.
The Indo-Australian plate is still moving at 67 mm/year, and over the next 10 million years it will travel about 1,500 km into Asia. About 2 cm/year of the India-Asia convergence is absorbed by thrusting along the Himalaya southern front. This leads to the Himalayas rising by about 5 mm/year, making them geologically active. The movement of the Indian plate into the Asian plate also makes this region seismically active, leading to earthquakes from time to time.
[tags]travel,adventure travel, Himalayas,Everest[/tags]