Nepal Earthquake 2015 Mary Davis

On April 25, 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook Nepal near the Himalayan Mountains. Its epicenter had a depth of 8.2 km.

Map of most recent earthquakes in the area.
Map showing the epicenter of the April 25 earthquake.

Major landforms and bodies of water, rivers, and glaciers

Mount Everest is the highest mountain on earth. Mount Everest attracts many climbers, some of them highly experienced mountaineers. There are two main climbing routes: one approaching the summit from the southeast in Nepal (known as the "standard route") and the other from the north in Tibet, China.

The Ghagara River is the longest river in Nepal. It cuts through the Himalayas in Nepal and joins the Sharda River at Brahmaghat in India. Together they form the Ghaghra River. With a length of 507 kilometres (315 mi) it is the longest river in Nepal.

The Rara River is the biggest and deepest fresh water lake in the Nepal Himalayas. It is the main feature of the Rara National Park.

Elevation on land and sea

The elevation of Nepal is extremely diverse, which rises from as low as 59 meters elevation in the tropical Terai—the northern rim of the Gangetic Plain, to some 90 peaks over 7,000 meters, including Earth's highest 8,848 meters Mount Everest.

Climate, average temperatures, seasonal changes, major weather patterns

Nepal experiences five seasons: summer, monsoon, autumn, winter and spring. The Himalaya blocks cold winds from Central Asia in the winter and forms the northern limit of the monsoon wind patterns. In a land once thickly forested, deforestation is a major problem in all regions.

Population statistics and distribution

Nepal has a population of roughly 26,494,504, and a population density of 180/km2 (466.2/sq mi). Hundreds of thousands of people were made homeless by the earthquake, with entire villages flattened, across many districts of the country.

The rugged topography has created many ecological “niches” to which different ethnic groups have adapted. Although trade has brought many different ethnic groups into contact, the geography has created diversity in language. The result is a country with over thirty-six ethnic groups and over fifty languages.

The death toll was estimated to be around 8,700, and at least 22,200 people were injured. There was about 1.1 million children who needed urgent assistance after the earthquake hit, and 2.8 million people in the country who needed humanitarian assistance. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia, and the damage done by the the earthquake put an extreme strain on the economy.

How have earthquakes been a part of the community prior to this event?

“Based on a study published in 2014, of the Main Frontal Thrust, on average a great earthquake occurs every 750 ± 140 and 870 ± 350 years in the east Nepal region. A study from 2015 found a 700-year delay between earthquakes in the region. The study also suggests, that because of tectonic stress transfer, the earthquake from 1934 in Nepal and the 2015 earthquake are connected following a historic earthquake pattern.”

The earthquake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, killing 21, making April 25, 2015 the deadliest day on the mountain in history. The earthquake triggered another huge avalanche in the Langtang valley, where 250 people were reported missing.

The damage caused by the 7.8 earthquake.

Nepal is particularly prone to earthquakes. It sits on the boundary of two massive tectonic plates – the Indo-Australian and Asian plates. It is the collision of these plates that has produced the Himalaya mountains, and with them, earthquakes.

The seismograph from the April 25 earthquake in 2015. It shows the S and P waves.

Plate Tectonics

A map of the plate tectonics in Nepal.

Seismicity in the Himalaya dominantly results from the continental collision of the India and Eurasia plates, which are converging at a relative rate of 40-50 mm/yr. Northward underthrusting of India beneath Eurasia generates numerous earthquakes and consequently makes this area one of the most seismically hazardous regions on Earth. (USGS).


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