The Blazer

The Student News Site of World Journalism Preparatory School

Flushing, New York

The Blazer

The Blazer

NFL Season Openers
NFL Season Openers
June 11, 2024
Fine Classroom Line
Fine Classroom Line
June 11, 2024

Nepal earthquake: How did it happen and why is the area so vulnerable

by Raj Vaidya, staff reporter

Nepal was recently hit by a 7.9 magnitude earthquake, leaving nearly 4000 dead and many without a home.  “I’m actually surprised that the earthquake was able to kill so many people,” junior Kaila Pulley said. Photo from public domain.
Nepal was recently hit by a 7.9 magnitude earthquake, leaving nearly 4000 dead and many without a home.
“I’m actually surprised that the earthquake was able to kill so many people,” junior Kaila Pulley said. Photo from public domain.

Nepal was recently ravaged by a 7.9 magnitude earthquake, leaving nearly 4000 dead and even more displaced without a home. It was the strongest earthquake to hit Nepal in more than 80 years, and scientists are now asking why.

“I’m actually surprised that the earthquake was able to kill so many people,” junior Kaila Pulley said.

Part of the answer lies in Earth’s tectonic plates. These huge pieces of land, often encompassing entire continents, are constantly rubbing and bumping against each other because of the intense heating and churning created in the earth’s core.

Nepal is straddled in the fault line formed between two such tectonic plates. To put into perspective just how powerful these two plates are, between 40 and 55 million years ago, the huge Himalayan mountains were erected as a direct result of the Indian plate shoving itself under the Eurasian plate, driving the land skyward.

This ancient collision is still going on, as the plates continue to converge into each other at the rate of 5 cm a year, and it had a terrible aftereffect on April 25th: the huge 7.9 magnitude earthquake that devastated the nation.

“If these plates could make the actual Himalayan Mountains, it’s no surprise that it caused so much damage” sophomore Renee Choong said.

Worse yet, some areas, like the heavily populated Kathmandu, are sitting atop a 300 meter deep layer of clay, which only worsens the effect. The clay focuses and magnifies the seismic activity resulting in a phenomena known as soil liquefaction (similar to quicksand), causing even more damage than usual.

Nepal, therefore, is especially vulnerable to future, potentially further-reaching catastrophes. Its location relative to the two plates and the composition of the soil makes Nepal an unfortunate candidate for such disasters.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Blazer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *