Nepal's Earthquake History Is Long, Troubled, And Deadly
As previously reported on Saturday, Nepal has been devastated by a 7.9-magnitude earthquake. The quake struck hardest near the capital of Katmandu, killing hundreds and trapping many more. It reverberated hundreds of miles away, shaking New Delhi, India, and causing a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest in the Himalayas. Horrifically, the historic Dharahara Tower — which was a tourist destination at the time of the quake — collapsed.
Sadly, this is not the small, mountainous nation's first experience with earthquakes. Nepal lies at the collision zone between the Indian subcontinent and Eurasian continent, and, as the Indian tectonic plate slowly moves toward the Eurasian tectonic plate, it causes what geologists call a thrust fault. Though this is what produces the vast and beautiful Himalayas, it also creates an incredibly volatile space for earthquakes.
While there was a large and devastating 8.1-magnitude quake in the area during the '30s, this is the first major earthquake in Nepal in quite some time — the last major quake was in '88, and it was a magnitude 6.8. However, many smaller quakes have rocked the country in the past century, causing damage on a smaller scale and with fewer casualties, but still impacting the buildings, livestock, and livelihoods of the Nepali people, as well as those of surrounding counties:
A huge earthquake occurred in the area in 1255, killing what is believed to have been one fourth to one third of the population of the Kathmandu Valley.
January 15, 1934
The most devastating quake in Nepal's history, known as the Bihar-Nepal earthquake, allegedly killed approximately 10,000 people. It also caused major damage to the Dharahara Tower, which was destroyed as a result of Saturday's quake.
July 29, 1980
August 20, 1988
The devastating 6.8 magnitude quake occurred on the border of India, killing over a thousand people.
July 23, 1994
September 18, 2011
A 6.9 magnitude earthquake, referrted to as the Sikkim earthquake, killed 11 people in Nepal and India, and wounded many others.
April 25, 2015
The 7.9 quake was the deadliest since 1934. Casualties are now predicted to be over 1000.
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