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by Staff Writers
Cambridge, Mass. (UPI) Feb 6, 2013
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
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.
Tectonic Science and News
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