Five weeks after the terrible earthquake in Nepal which literally shook the Himalayas, researchers from the US claim that they have found the missing pieces of the puzzle on the formation of the highest mountain on Earth. As they mentioned, this creation is the result of a rare geological phenomenon.
It has been found that the continents of the Earth are not stable formations, but they follow the so-called Wilson's Cycle, in which they stand off from each other and then rejoin to form continents and supercontinent which in turn eventually dissolve. This process has occurred at least three times over the past four billion years.
When continents stand off from each other, then deep cracks are formed between them and from these ridges gushes magma, which thereby closes the gap. Conversely, when continents approach each other, a subduction zone is formed among them, where the tectonic plate of a continent is slowly sinking under the plate of the second.
According to the prevailing theory, India 140 million years ago, was part of supercontinent Gondwana that covered much of the Northern Hemisphere of the Earth. 120 million years ago India was cut off from Gondwana and began to move north towards another great supercontinent that existed that period in the world and included North America and Eurasia.
India moved slowly about 5 cm per year. But before 80 million years ... suddenly stepped on the accelerator and started moving at triple speed. As a result, India reached Eurasia within 30 million years. Thus, 50 million years ago, India collided with Eurasia, causing the birth of the Himalayas. Scientists were unable to give an explanation for the sudden increase in the speed of India until today.
The team of geologists of MIT believes that the mystery is solved. They argue that in the Indian attraction to Eurasia did not attend only one subduction zone, as usual, but two zones. The characteristics of these two areas (their size and the distance between them) were made in such a way that India gave the necessary impetus to increase its speed. The researchers came to their conclusion by studying rock samples from the Himalayas.
Lee Royden, professor of Geology and Geophysics Department of Planetary, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at MIT admits that it’s hard to be absolutely certain about anything in earth science, “But there are so many pieces of evidence that all fit together here that we’re pretty convinced”.