Major Reasons of Earthquakes in Nepal

You’ve probably heard about the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015, killing hundreds of people and leaving countless others homeless. However, what you may not know is that Nepal experiences more than its fair share of earthquakes every year, with many major quakes going completely unnoticed by most people around the globe.

But why Nepal keep experiences so many earthquakes? Why Nepal has become prone to many earthquakes?

In this blog post, we are going to answers to the questions like these and will explain why Nepal experiences so many earthquakes, and how this can make them even more dangerous in the future.

Nepal Earthquake 2015

As most of you know, Nepal experienced the most devastating natural disaster in its history in the year 2015. The 2015 Nepal earthquake (also known as the Gorkha earthquake) was the most recent in a series of major earthquakes that have rocked the country since 1934, when an 8.0 magnitude earthquake killed more than 9,000 people and injured more than 21,000.

The earthquake occured on 25 April, 2015 at 11:56 Nepal Standard Time making Barpak of Gorkha district as its epicenter, and affected the most part of the country.

The devastating earthquake left over 8,800 people dead, with that number continually rising due to the large number of people still trapped in remote areas as rescue crews are unable to reach them due to destroyed infrastructure such as roads and buildings.

Besides causing the deaths of thousands of people, hundreds of thousands of Nepalese became homeless with entire villages going flattened in mostly in the hilly and mountain regions of Nepal. Several centuries-old buildings, architectures, and monuments like Dharhara-which was one of the most popular and famous architecture of Nepal were damaged and destroyed. The earthquake also destroyed UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Kathmandu Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Squares, Patan Durbar Squares, Swayambhunath, Boudanath Stupa, and Changunarayan.

If you want to know how devasting this earthquake was, you may get this idea by the fact that this earthquake triggered an avalanche on the world’ highest peak Mt. Everest that causes the death of 22. This incident is considered as the deadliest incident ever happened on any mountain. The earthquake trigerred another avalanche in the Langtang Valley where 250 people were reported missing.

The earthquake affected the whole nation with continous minor and major aftershocks. Apart from causing thousands of deaths and thousands of people going homeless, this earthquake had caused Nepalese to live in fear. During this period, people were even afraid of sleeping in their homes.

Now, its been 7 years of this devasting earthquake in Nepal, and still most people in the affected areas aren’t recovered from this natural disaster.

Reasons of Earthquakes in Nepal

If you were paying attention to the news lately, you’ve probably heard about the many frequent earthquakes occuring in Nepal. Most people in the world often hear much about earthquakes in this part of the world, but there’s actually a very simple reason why Nepal experiences so many earthquakes – it’s all about plate tectonics and its geographical condition. Let’s take a closer look at what’s going on in Nepal and why these earthquakes keep happening over and over again.

Techtonic Plates

The crust of Earth is made up of large techtonic plates. Techtonic plates are considered to be the huge land masses which contain entire continents and oceanic crusts.

Currently, there are seven techtonic plates in this Earth. These techtonic plates are African, Antartic, Eurasian, Indo-Australia, North American, Pacific, and South American. These techtonic plates are believed to be in motion and keep colliding with one another all the time. The major cause of earthquake happening on this planet is this movement of techtonic plates.

Interestingly, Nepal sits on the boundary of two of the largest techtonic plates-Eurasion and Indo-Australian. It is the collision of these two plates that have caused massive and high Himalayan mountains in Nepal and its surrounding regions. Along with the formation of these Himalayan mountains, it is the massive energy due to the thrusting of these plates against one another causes violent shaking of the crust that we keep experiencing as “Earthquakes”.

Geographical Condition of Nepal

If techtonic plates are the only reason of earthquakes in Nepal, then it would have been so frequent. Along with the movement of techtonic plates, the geographical condition of Nepal is also one of the reasons of earthquakes in Nepal.

Since Nepal sits on the border of two massive techtonic plates, and since it has been studied that the area where these two plates collided haven’t completly settled down. This collision has made this area very unstable and also led to the creation of an earthquake belt, which extends from Tibet to Bhutan. Because of this movement, there are many earthquakes in Nepal because most part of Nepal, especially Kathmandu lies on one of the faults that have been created due to this movement.

This is the reason why United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) has ranked Nepal in the 11th place in the list of most vulnerable countries for earthquakes, and its capital Kathmandu among the top cities that are prone to earthquakes.

Therefore, indirectly the geographical condition or say the geology of Nepal is also causing the earthquakes in Nepal.

History of Earthquakes in Nepal

Nepal is facing earthquakes for centuries now. In history, Nepal has faced many devasting earthquakes. Here we will be looking at the insights of some of the deadliest earthquakes that have occured in the history of Nepal.

1. Nepal-India Earthquake (1934)

  • Occured on January 15, 1934
  • Magnitude-8.0
  • Caused the deaths of over 10,000
  • Kathmandu of Nepal & Munger and Muzzaffarpur and several other places were completely destroyed.

2. Nepal-India Border Earthquake (1980)

  • Occured on July 29, 1980
  • Magnitude-6.5
  • Caused over 180 deaths and over 40,000 homes were destroyed

3. Nepal-India Border Earthquake (1980)

  • Occured on July 29, 1980
  • Magnitude-6.5
  • Caused over 180 deaths and over 40,000 homes were destroyed

4. Nepal-India Earthquake (1988)

  • Occured on August 21, 1988
  • Magnitude-6.8
  • Caused over 900 deaths, over 12,000 injured, and over 460,000 people left homeless

5. Nepal Earthquake (2011)

  • Occured on September 11, 2011
  • Magnitude-6.9
  • Caused 6 deaths & 11 serious injured, and more than 13,000 displaced

6. Nepal Earthquake (2015)

  • Occured on April 25, 2015
  • Magnitude-8.0
  • Caused almost 9,000 deaths and left over 21,000 injured
  • Destroyed many centuries-old monuments, architectures, UNESCO world heritage sites, villages, and so on.
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