The Birth of Himalayas


                                              THE BIRTH OF HIMALAYAS

He set on earth  mountains standing firm lest it should shake with you…… (Holy Quran Verse 10 Ayat 31)

—  Compared to older mountain ranges like the Aravallis in India and Applachian in USA, the Himalayas are known as Youngfold mountain, being the youngest range, with world’s tallest peak of 8,848m. These extend for 2,500 km in length & 50-100 km in width in a series of parallel ridges of folds.

—  About 250 million years ago, the earth’s land was a single super continent called Pangea, which was surrounded by a large ocean.Around 200 million years ago (known as the middle permean period) an extensive sea stretched along the longitudinal area presently occupied by the Himalayas. The sea was named The Tethys. Around this period the super continent began to  gradually split into different land masses & move apart in different directions.

—  Rivers from both the northern Eurasian land mass (Angara) & southern Indian land mass (Gondwana) deposited large amounts of sediments into the shallow sea that was the Tethys.

—  There were marine animals called ammonites living in the sea of the time. The present fossil finds on peaks, point to their coast dwellings.

—  The two land masses, the Eurasia and the Indian subcontinent moved closer and closer.

—  Indian plate-one of the fastest moving tectonic plate in the world- was moving north at the rate of about 16 cms/6.3 inches per year.

—  About 70 million years ago (upper cretaceous period) the initial mountain building process started, when the two land masses (or plates) began to collide with each other.

—   As a result the already shallow seabed rapidly folded & was raised into longitudinal ridges & valleys.

—  After about 65 million years ago (upper Eocene period) came the 2nd phase of mountain building.

—  The bed of Tethys started rising again.

—  The sea retreated and the sea bed was elevated into high mountain ranges.

—  Later about 25 million years (middle Miocene period) came another mountain building which led to the formation of low Shivalik ranges.

—  Next; the mountain building phases occurred as the Indian plate pushed against the Eurasian plate which led to the Himalayan ranges rising further.

—  The last major phase occurred 600,000 years ago.

—  Although the phase of major upheaval has passed, the Himalayas are still rising albeit at a much slower rate.

—  The Indian plate is continuously moving north at the rate of about 2 cms. every year, which raise Himalayas by 5mm per year=5km per million years (being world’s highest rate of uplift )

—  This means that  Himalayas are still  geographically active & structurally unstable.

—  Some of the greatest earthquakes have occurred in history due to tectonic forces released by the interaction of the two plates.

—  For this reason, earthquakes are a frequent occurrence in the entire Himalayan region.

—  There is a recent prediction of an imminent major earthquake in Hidukush mountains.

—  For this reason, earthquakes are a frequent occurrence in the entire Himalayan region.

—  There is a recent prediction of an imminent major earthquake in Hidukush mountains.

—  Area covered in North Western Himalayas: snow clad peaks, glaciers & dense forest cover  = 33 million ha=10% of the total geographical area of the country

—  Rural Population:  J&K 75.20 %, HP 90.20%, UK 74.30 %    against the national average of 72.20%

—  It is impossible to detect the movement of the plates and uplifting of the Himalayas by casual observation.

—  However Global Positioning System (GPS) has made it possible to measure even such a slow movement of plates.

—  The Alps in Europe is another example of a mountain chain that formed due to the collision of tectonic plates.

—     Praise be to Him who left His signs for us all around ………              




About shahishaharyar

Chartered civil engineer,Fellow institution of engineers India, Member Indian road congress,Member American society of civil engineers, Presented over 70 papers in various seminars,published books over 36 on environment,history, sufi saints, genealogy,free lance writer, travelled in India and abroad.

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