South Asia is a homeland for an immense number of people. Such countries as Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan, and Maldives exist and develop in this region. The Indian Plate is the core one on the eastern hemisphere. It makes the basis for South Asia.
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The Eurasian, the Australian, the Arabian, and the African Plates border with the Indian Plate. South Asia in its current form started its creation approximately forty million years ago when the collision between the Eurasian and the Indian Plates took place. As a result, the most impressive mountain chain in the world, the Himalayas, appeared.
The history of the modern South Asia landforms starts with the contact of two plates. However, for better understanding of its origin, one has to know what was before. Its history goes far to the geological era known as a Permian period. There was only one supercontinent — Pangaea.
India was a neighbour to Africa, Australia, and Antarctica. Pangaea broke in approximately twenty million years in two landmasses — Laurasia and Gondwanaland. South America, India, Africa, Australia and Antarctica made the second landmass while Eurasia, together with North America, formed the first continent.
Tethys represented a grand line of water that divided Gondwanaland and Laurasia. India split off Gondwanaland and began the journey towards the Eurasian plate. It took more than forty million years for the Indian Plate to pass 6000 kilometres and to collide with the Eurasian Plate.
This type of collision represents the process of Continental-Continental convergence. Two continents moved towards each other because of the subduction of the seabed’s layers. The Continental-Continental convergence resulted in the creation of the Himalayas.
The movement of plates belongs to the category of divergent plate boundaries (Tarbuck 208). The fracture of crust, earthquakes, and volcano’s eruptions are typical features of the process. Thus, the Indian plate moved under the Asian one and made it rise. The Himalayan Mountains appeared because of this. The crust of the Indian Plate was firmer and thicker that the crust of the Asian plate. That is why during the process India moved Asia and not on the contrary (Hendrix and Thompson 111).
The Himalayas have grown with a significant speed in comparison to other mountains. The Appalachian Mountains were their ancient counterpart. However, due to the erosion, these mountains are no more the highest. One particular thing about the Indian Plate is that it is still moving towards the north.
Frequent earthquakes in the region and the rise of the Himalayas prove that fact. Taking into consideration the speed of the Himalayas’ growth since their formation, one may conclude that they should be 400 kilometres high. Nevertheless, the elevation of Mount Everest comprises 8 848 metres.
Researchers explain this phenomenon by the fact that the vertical growth has changed into the horizontal as well as erosion and gravity do not allow mountains to become higher (Upton par. 6).
Nowadays, the horizontal length of the Himalayas is more than 2 000 metres. The chain is also one of the youngest in the world. It has the shape of the arc. The name “Himalaya” has the meaning “a house of snow”. It reflects the primary function of mountains — to regulate the monsoon climate. Besides, the Himalayas provide people with drinking water (Ahmad 142).
Taking into consideration the geologic structures and types of rocks in the Himalayas, geologist divide them into four tectonic zones. They are the Sub-Himalaya, the Lesser Himalaya, the Higher Himalayan Crystallines, and the Tethyan Himalaya. Mount Everest belongs to the Higher Himalayan Crystallines and it is the highest peak on Earth. I would like to dwell on the geologic structure of the mountain. The mountain appeared because of the collision during the Continent-Continent convergence.
As a result, the ocean’s seafloor formed the peak of Mount Everest. Denser rocks went to the bottom while the light rocks became the base for the formation of the mountains on the surface. One can find the remains of the sea animals that lived in the Tethys Ocean at the top of Everest. The mountain includes various types of formations. The first one is the Rongbuk Formation, which comprises the base of the mountain. One can find gneiss and schist there.
There are also old deposits of pegmatite dykes and granite. The next layer is the North Col Formation. It stands for the biggest part of the mountain. The well-known Yellow Band is a part of the second formation. The Qomolangma Formation represents the summit of Mount Everest (Green par. 9). Having analysed the historical facts, I can assume that marine limestone covers the peak.
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The Continent-Continent convergence that took place in distant past changed the appearance of Earth. The Himalayas appeared because of the massive impact between two great landforms. Due to the nature of the contact, the range of mountains comprises of the granite deposits in the basement and marine limestone in the higher peaks. The chain of mountains is a real wonder of the world that can tell amazing facts about the past.
Ahmad, Talat. “Geology of the Himalayan Mountain Range, with Special Reference to the Western Himalaya.” 2011. PDF file.
Green, Stewart. “Geology of Mount Everest.” n.d.
Hendrix, Mark and Graham Thompson. Earth 2, Boston: Cengage Learning, 2014. Print.
Tarbuck, Edward. Earth Science, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc., 2005. Print.
Upton, Emily. “How the Himalayas were Formed.” 2013.