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Current Affairs

New faults in Himalayas discovered

Date: 20 July 2020 Tags: Disaster & Disaster Management

Issue

Data from an oil and gas exploration company has now helped geologists discover a series of faults at the foot of the Himalaya. 

 

Background

The international team notes that this fault system in the south-eastern region of Nepal has the potential to cause earthquakes in the densely populated country.

 

Details

  • The team looked at seismic reflection data, which are routinely collected by exploration companies looking for oil and gas.

  • In this method, seismic waves are produced by small explosions at multiple sources, and many recorders called geophones to record the sound echoing off layers beneath the surface.

  • The signals are combined to make an image that looks like a slice showing layers through the top few kilometres of the Earth’s crust. The researchers were able to identify the faults because the pattern of layers showed bends.

  • This network of faults shows that the Himalayan deformation reaches further [about 40 kilometres further south] than previously thought.

  • The faults don’t appear to extend into India, but seismic waves from an earthquake occurring on them might affect regions of India near the border.

 

Faults

A fault is a planar fracture or discontinuity in a volume of rock across which there has been significant displacement as a result of rock-mass movement.

 

  • Normal faults

A normal fault is a fault in which the hanging wall moves down relative to the footwall. A normal fault is a result of the earth's crust spreading apart. This often occurs at plate boundaries, but it can happen at faults in the middle of plates also.

 

  • Reverse faults

A reverse fault is one in which one side of the fault, the hanging wall, moves up and over the other side, the footwall. This movement is caused by compression and is common at tectonic plate boundaries.

 

  • Strike-slip faults

Strike-slip fault, also called a transcurrent fault, wrench fault, or lateral fault is a fracture in the rocks of Earth's crust in which the rock masses slip past one another parallel to the strike, the intersection of a rock surface with the surface or another horizontal plane.