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  • A 7.8 magnitude Earthquake rained avalanches on Mount Everest and devastated Nepal. What

  • exactly is going on underground when the Earth moves so violently?

  • The Theory of Plate tectonics was put forward in the mid-20th century based on decades of

  • earlier research. One scientist, Alfred Wegener first suggested the concept of continental

  • drift in 1912 - the idea that land masses can move across the earth’s surfaces. But

  • he didn’t know the mechanism behind the movement. Throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s

  • more pieces of the puzzle fell into place. Including ideas like sea-floor spreading,

  • and global crustal motion.

  • Now scientists know that the Earth is made up of several layers, the mantle and the crust

  • make up the outermost shell, the Lithosphere. This crust is broken up into 7 or 8 major

  • tectonic plates which float on top of another layer called the asthenosphere. The molten

  • rock beneath them move them around like a conveyer belt. Sometimes the plates meet up

  • and move towards each other forming a convergent boundary, when they move apart, it’s a divergent

  • boundary, when they slide past each other it’s a transform.

  • When plates slide over, under or past each other it creates a lot of pressure which can

  • be released as a volcanic eruption or an Earthquake.

  • Nepal sits on a volatile zone. The Indian plate broke off from Madagascar 90 million

  • years ago. Around 50 million years ago it hit the Eurasian plate. This forced the Indian

  • plate to take a dive, while the other plate thrusted upwards creating the Himalayas. When

  • two plates meet like this, it’s called a thrust fault.

  • Millions of years later, theyre still crashing into each other. The Indian plate subducts,

  • or is sliding beneath the other plate, and moves North 2 inches (5 centimeters) a year.

  • This builds up enormous amounts of pressure. When all that pressure is released, it can

  • mean disaster.

  • This region is weirdly used to earthquakes, for some reason. They seem to experience large

  • quakes every 75 years or so, like clockwork. And this one was right on cue, the last major

  • Earthquake struck in 1934. But this recent earthquake was shallow, at only 15 kilometres

  • deep. While a 7 magnitude earthquake is devastating on its own, a shallow depth means more shaking

  • at the surface and more damage.

  • At the time of this taping, the death toll from this catastrophic earthquake’s death

  • toll is over 4-thousand and is expected to rise. Buildings, temples and homes have been

  • toppled as many remain in need of help. Recovery efforts are underway with aid and humanitarian

  • organizations mobilizing to provide much needed support, but they need help. In response to

  • the tragic earthquake, Discovery Communications will be making a $250,000 donation to relief

  • efforts. And we hope that you too can support the people of Nepal by visiting GlobalGiving’s

  • Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund page. Weve got a link below in the description. Thanks

  • for watching DNews.

A 7.8 magnitude Earthquake rained avalanches on Mount Everest and devastated Nepal. What

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The Science Behind The Nepal Earthquake

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    James posted on 2015/06/27
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