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TECTONICS
New date seen for creation of Himalayas
by Staff Writers
Cambridge, Mass. (UPI) Feb 6, 2013


Heavy rain kills 34 in Pakistan: officials
Islamabad (AFP) Feb 6, 2013 - Days of torrential rain have killed 34 people in Pakistan, mostly on the northwestern border with Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday.

The worst-hit region was Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the northwest where 25 people were killed and 57 injured as a result of heavy rain from Sunday to Tuesday, the provincial disaster management authority said.

Three soldiers were also reported missing after they were hit by a snow avalanche in the northwestern district of Lower Dir.

Eight people were killed in the central province of Punjab, said Shahzad Abbasi, spokesman for the Punjab disaster management authority.

One person died and another was injured when they were hit by lightning in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, said state official Shahid Hasan Malik.

Pakistan has suffered devastating monsoon floods for the last three years, including the worst in its history in 2010 when catastrophic inundations killed almost 1,800 people and affected 21 million.

The tectonic plate collision between India and Asia that created the Himalayas may have occurred 10 million years later than previously thought, geologists say.

India, moving northward at a rapid pace, crushed up against Eurasia and created a "crumple zone" we now know as the Himalayan mountains, but analysis of rocks from two regions in the mountains suggest there were actually two collisions, they said.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say the evidence suggests the tectonic plate bearing India moved northward first collided with a string of islands 50 million years ago before plowing into the Eurasian continental plate 10 million years later.

"India came running full speed at Asia and boom, they collided," MIT geology Professor Oliver Jagoutz said. "But we actually don't think it was one collision ... this changes dramatically the way we think the India/Asia collision works."

The findings may change ideas about the size of India before it collided with Asia, because during the collision part of the ancient Indian plate slid underneath the Eurasian plate, researchers said.

It's not clear how much of India lies beneath Asia, but what is seen of India's surface today is much smaller than it was 50 million years ago, they said.

Himalayan avalanche kills five in India
Shimla, India (AFP) Feb 6, 2013 - An avalanche in a Himalayan region of northern India killed at least five villagers Wednesday when their houses were buried under heavy snow, officials said.

The avalanche trapped eight people in the remote Kafnu village in the state of Himachal Pradesh but three of them were later rescued, they said.

"The victims were in two houses. The other six houses in the village had been vacated earlier," said one of the officials, speaking anonymously as he was not authorised to talk to the press.

A rescue operation was launched despite the heavy snowfall in the tribal region bordering Tibet, with forecasters warning of the possibility of more avalanches.

The region has been experiencing very heavy snowfall for the past three days and has been virtually cut off from the rest of the state because of disruption in electricity and communication cables.

Popular tourist spots like Kalpa, the region's main town, have been under more than six feet (1.82m) of snow.

Last month, five people were killed in an avalanche in the same region.

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Solomons quake shows might of 'Ring of Fire'
Sydney (AFP) Feb 6, 2013
A huge earthquake that struck off the Solomons Islands Wednesday was another reminder of the power of the volatile "Ring of Fire", a vast zone of volcanic instability that encircles the Pacific Ocean. The 8.0-magnitude earthquake was feared to have flattened villages in the Solomons, and generated small tsunami waves that reached Pacific nations' coasts, triggering emergency sirens and evacu ... read more


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