How were the Himalayas created?
The real beauty of the country India lies in its flora and fauna, its flowing rivers and yes, how can we not mention, the mighty Himalayas. The Himalayas are one of the most beautiful mountain ranges of the world. Often do we wonder what had been the story behinds their evolution. It must surely have taken epochs for these mighty mountains to form.
The story behind their evolution goes like this. India was way back believed to be a part of what was called the Gondwanaland. Between the Eurasian continent and the Gondwanaland, existed, what was called the Tethyan Ocean. This ocean separated both these pieces of land from each other. About a billion years ago, the Aravali Ranges that are now located in the state of Rajasthan in India was first a group of large mountain ranges, higher than the today’s Himalayas. They stretched over a huge area.
A collision took place about 140 million years ago and India started to move towards the North. The two continents were joined at a point called the Indus-Yarlung Suture Zone. This is the point where these two mighty rivers of the Himalayas flow today. Along the side of this Indus-Yarlung Suture zone, about 60 million years ago, the Indian and the Asian plates came in close proximity with each other. This marked the slowing down of the Indian continent’s northward movement. It became as slow as about three centimeters per year.
When this collision had taken place the Tethyan Ocean contracted. The rocks that were situated in this area along with the mountains in the northern part of India and the sand and rock deposits joined together. This marked the creation of the beautiful Himalayas.
The Himalayas did not form its huge structure stretching over a vast area at once. At the very beginning were formed the Trans Himalayas. The southern part of this portion has the highest peaks of the whole mountain range. Crystalline rock is also located here. They are about two billion years old, the oldest of all the rocks found in the Himalayan range. They are in the bottommost layers called the Central Thrust.
After this, Shivalik range was formed. They were a result of the continuous erosions of the Aravalis. Shivaliks are the lower range of Himalayas. The history of Shivaliks is proven by the old fossils found at that place and hence the age of Himalayas has been estimated.
The next phase marked the formation of Garhwal, Nanda Devi and other on the central axis. At this time itself the Bhagirathi were formed. They are mountain ranges made up of leucogranites, white in color.
The last upheaval happened in the Trans Himalayas and the Karakorum and in the region of Tibet. This region has the highest land mass on this planet. It stretches over an area of 2.5 billion square kilometers. It is still continuously rising. In the past one million years it’s gone up about 5000 meters high. In every ten years it rises about 10 meters high.
After the whole formation began the ice age during which Pangong and the Chandratal glaciers were formed. Many Himalayan lakes and rivers came in to existence during that time.
The major rivers of the Himalayan range flow in the pious region of Kailasha. In the north flows the Indus, in the east, the Yarlung Brahmaputra, the west has Sutlej flowing and Ganga and Karnali in south and the southwest region. The Kailasha range is about 30 million years old.
The eastern Himalayas less wide and deep than the Western Himalayas have a stark difference in the climatic conditions. Here the climate is not harsh unlike other portions of Himalayas and heavy rainfall often takes place.
The story behind the Himalayas continue to fascinate geologists and their constant upheaval is astonishing and worth admiring.