Mount Everest shrinks after devastating quake. Find out why.
Sunday, May 3, 2015, 5:41 PM - The powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the Asian nation of Nepal did more than just damage and destroy the country. The tremor is also responsible for relatively major topographical changes in the region.
Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, is a little closer to losing its title. Data from Europe's Sentinel-1A radar suggests that the famous mountain is about 3 centimetres shorter, product of the strong quake. The fault between the Indian and the Eurasian tectonic plates was responsible for the devastation in Nepal but also led to a relaxation of the planet's crust.
Roger Bilham, in a conversation with Huffington Post, said the process is similar to relaxing an eraser that had been squeezed. "Let it go and it shrinks back to its original shape.
FULL QUAKE COVERAGE
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- GEOLOGY: Everest shorter after the Nepal quake
- WEATHER: Looming monsoon season jeopardizes Nepal quake recovery
- SCIENCE: How scientists predicted the Nepal quake
- IMAGES: Scenes from the Nepal quake disaster zone
- WATCH: Video shows terror the moment the Nepal quake struck
- WATCH: Everest avalanche caught on camera
Not the only change
While Everest lost some of the height that has made it famous, Nepal's capital Kathmandu was lifted by a metre.
The changes made by the faults offer scientists valuable data for when they look at the faults' future activity
"We want to know which parts of the fault slipped," said Professor Tim Wright, from the UK's Nerc Centre for the Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics. "And that's important because it tells us those parts that did not and which are still primed and ready to go in a future earthquake."
Scientists can use this information to narrow down the period in which a major earthquake could occur.
Early calculations suggest that [Nepal's earthquake] is probably not big enough to rupture all the way to the surface," Laurent Bollinger, a researcher-engineer at France's CEA agency, told the BBC. "So there is still likely to be more strain stored and we should probably expect another big earthquake to the west and south of this one in the coming decades."
How you can help
- Respond to UNICEF Canada's appeal for Nepal relief donations.
- Donate to the Canadian Red Cross effort in Nepal.
- Plan Canada is asking for donations to is a charity that has worked in Nepal since 1978. The group has been providing life-saving emergency assistance to those affected. Click here to make a donation.
- Google's crisis response team launched a person finder for the incident where people can submit information available on people in the area as well as search for information made available by people in the area.
- Red Cross also set up a people finder to help those searching for affected by the quake.
- Canada will match dollar-for-dollar all eligible contributions to the Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund until May 25.
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