How Were the Himalaya Mountains Formed?
The Himalaya Mountains were formed from a collision of tectonic plates. The mountain formation primarily occurred in three phases that began about 50 million to 70 million years ago and most recently occurred about 600,000 years ago. The tectonic plates still are moving, and the mountain range continues to rise; the movement occurs at a rate of about 2 centimeters per year.
The Indo-Australian tectonic plate collided with the Euroasian plate after many hundreds of millions of years of slow migration, forcing the land up and forming the area that is now India pushed against Tibet. This created the massive mountain fold that is known as the Himalayas, some of the tallest mountains in the world. The mountain range extends for more than 1,500 miles, with the highest peak, Mount Everest, rising 29,029 feet above sea level.
Tectonic plates are located in the earth’s lithosphere. These plates move at different rates through a process of convection. In the Earth’s inner mantle – which is directly below the lithosphere – molten rock forms and pushes hot gas and liquid upward. The hot materials displace cooler gases and liquids and create convection currents that push the tectonic plates.
Due to the continued plate movement, the Himalaya region also experiences many earthquakes. Some of these earthquakes are some of the most destructive natural disasters on record.