Nepal quake moved Everest southwest

Nepal quake moved Everest southwest

BEIJING – Agence France-Presse
Nepal quake moved Everest southwest

The world’s tallest peak, Mount Everest, moved three centimetres to the southwest because of an earthquake. AFP Photo

A devastating earthquake that hit Nepal in April moved Mount Everest three centimeters to the southwest, but did not change its height, according to Chinese research published on June 16.

The 7.8-magnitude quake reversed the gradual northeasterly course of the world’s highest peak, which straddles Nepal and China, the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation found.

But its height, usually given as 8,848 meters, was unchanged by the disaster, according to the research, published in Chinese state media.

The report said Everest had moved 40 centimeters to the northeast over the past decade at a speed of four centimeters a year, and risen three centimeters over the same period.

Major fault line 

Nepal rests on a major fault line between two tectonic plates, one bearing India pushing northward into a plate carrying Europe and Asia at a rate of about two centimeters per year, the process that created the Himalayas.

Roger Bilham, professor of geological science at the University of Colorado, agreed with the Chinese findings.

But he said the focus should not be on Everest, calling the peak “a lump of uneroded rock that just happens to have survived a little bit higher than all the other rocks in the Himalaya.”

“The Everest region was a mere bystander, and was pulled slightly by this movement by a few centimeters south and a little bit down,” he said.

More than 8,700 people were killed in the April 25 quake and a major aftershock on May 12, which also triggered landslides and destroyed half a million homes, leaving thousands without shelter.