Earthquakes and Natural Disasters

Nepal Quake 2015

Powerful quake struck the capital of Nepal yesterday – as of this writing, it’s a m7.8 and so far they are reporting 3,000+ people have perished so far, including people trapped in an avalanche on Mt Everest and people crushed in the Dharahara that crumbled as they were visiting the World Heritage site.

From the USGS:

The April 25, 2015 M 7.8 Nepal earthquake occurred as the result of thrust faulting on or near the main frontal thrust between the subducting India plate and the overriding Eurasia plate to the north. At the location of this earthquake, approximately 80 km to the northwest of the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, the India plate is converging with Eurasia at a rate of 45 mm/yr towards the north-northeast, driving the uplift of the Himalayan mountain range. The preliminary location, size and focal mechanism of the April 25 earthquake are consistent with its occurrence on the main subduction thrust interface between the India and Eurasia plates.

Although a major plate boundary with a history of large-to-great sized earthquakes, large earthquakes on the Himalayan thrust are rare in the documented historical era. Just four events of M6 or larger have occurred within 250 km of the April 25, 2015 earthquake over the past century. One, a M 6.9 earthquake in August 1988, 240 km to the southeast of the April 25 event, caused close to 1500 fatalities. The largest, an M 8.0 event known as the 1934 Nepal-Bihar earthquake, occurred in a similar location to the 1988 event. It severely damaged Kathmandu, and is thought to have caused around 10,600 fatalities.

Alan Taylor at InFocus on has a great photo set of Nepal shortly after the quake.

CNN also has a great photo gallery

You can also watch the scary video of the avalanche hitting the Base Camp at Mt. Everest posted by Jost kobusch(contains a bunch of f-bombs).

It’s a terrible tragedy and makes me really think of two things. First, I am disappointed that US media focuses on the Google Executive that was killed on Everest (at least in the early going – perhaps bringing the tragedy home) instead of immediately focusing on the immense crisis in Kathmandu. Second, a m7.8 is the same estimated size as the 1906 SF Quake and is certainly a size that the San Andreas fault can trigger all up and down the state and according to the LA Times have deadly consequences here as well.. Hopefully this will really make people want to prepare more for the certain to happen quake.

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