Convergence of Indian plate to stop in next 20 mn years

The continental collision that triggered the formation of the Himalayas about 50 million years ago would come to a complete halt in the next 20 million years, a new study has claimed.

The mountain building episode started with the collision of the Indian plate with the Eurasian plate will stop due to the strength of the underlying mantle, not the height of the Himalayas, American geophysicist Marin Clark said in her research paper published in the British journal Nature.

The findings could add a new wrinkle to the established theory of plate tectonics — the dominant, unifying theory of geology, said Clark, who is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan.

The rate at which the Indian sub-continent creeps toward Eurasia is slowing exponentially, said Clark, who reviewed published positions of northern India over the last 67 million years to evaluate convergence rates. The convergence will halt — putting an end to one of the longest periods of mountain-building in recent geological history — in about 20 million years, she estimated.

“My paper is arguing that it’s not the height of the mountains, it’s the strength of the mantle that’s controlling this slowing,” Clark said.

“The exciting thing here is that it’s not easy to make progress in a field (plate tectonics) that’s 50 years old and is the major tenet that we operate under,” Clark said.

“The Himalaya and Tibet are the highest mountains today on earth, and we think they’re probably the highest mountains in the last 500 million years. And my paper is about how this is going to end and what’s slowing down the Indian plate.”The earth’s mantle is the thick shell of rock that separates the crust above from the core below.
According to the theory of plate tectonics, the outer part of the earth is broken into several large plates, like pieces of cracked shell on a boiled egg.

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