Some facts about Himalayas Part I

The Himalayas
 The Himalayas

The highest and the youngest mountain range in the world are the mighty Himalayas. The term comes from sanskrit ” Him” meaning ice and “Alaya” meaning abode. In modern times Himalayas are the biggest challenge for mountaineers. With over 100 peaks rising to heights above 20000 feet it is indeed the highest place on earth. The Himalayas stretch  for about 1,551 miles (2,400 km) from west to east between Nanga Parbat in Pakistan occupied Kashmir to Namjagbarwa in Tibet.

The Himalayas can be divided into four longitudinal mountain ranges :

  1. Outer or Sub-Himalayas known popularly as the Shivalik Range
  2. The Lesser or Lower Himalayas.
  3. The Greater Himalayas.
  4. Tethys or the Tibetan Himalayas.

The ranges were formed due to crashing of the Indian subcontinent plate with the Eurasian plate. The place where the Himalayas now stand was a sea known as the Tethys Ocean. When the plate crash happened the rocks were thrown upwards forming a mountain range. Gradually the water from the ocean receded and the mountains came to fore. The vast amount of water became glaciers which are the birthplace of many rivers that flow across the Indian subcontinent in the present ear. Even till today fossils of sea animals are found in the Himalayas.

The Himalayas are the reason for India having monsoon rains. The monsoon winds carrying precipitation crash against the Himalayas causing monsoons. More interesting facts about Himalayas in the next post.


How Mountains are formed?

Formation of Mountains due to crashing tectonic plates

One of the most magnificent sights is a mountain range. Whether it is the Himalayas or the Rockies all have an enigmatic effect on the onlooker.

But do you know how these natural formations were formed? They did not fall out of sky or were placed from above as many scriptures say. Here are the ways these majestic structures were formed. There are various ways in which they are formed but all of these ways takes a long time.The Earth is made up of various tectonic plates which are just like tiles installed in our apartments and homes. When the earth’s tectonic plates crash against each other a fold is formed which results in the formation of what we call Young Fold Mountains. The most recent crash was the Indian plate crashing against the Eurasian plate forming the Himalayas. The crash place forces the rocks to rise up and form mountains. The last such activity which resulted in Himalayan Mountain range happened 25 million years ago. The plates are still pushing against each other and believe it or not the Himalayas are still rising.

Volcanic Mountains

Mountains are also formed due to volcanic activity. As a result of volcanic activity the molten  rock called magma is pushed up towards the surface of earth. It cools here and when the soft rock erodes a mountain is formed.Water erosion by rivers can also form mountains. In high plateaus rivers and stream carves away stone to form deep channels. Continuous erosion forms mountains between deep river valleys.