Continental plate collisions usually result in the formation of mountains and mountain ranges due to the impact caused by the collision.
(Photo: MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)
How Hot Springs Helps Discover the Collision Point
A previous crash recorded in the Converging Borders led to the formation of the Himalayan Mountains and the Tibetan Plateau. Recent studies have revealed another clash between the continental plate and the Tibetan plateau, according to Phys.org.
Because of the global climatic significance of the collision between these tectonic plates, researchers have proposed theories between the tectonic plates below the surface and the iconic giant.
An example of this collision involved the African plate and the Eurasian plate which created the series of chains extending from the Alps in Europe to the Zagros mountains in Iran.
Research into around 225 hot springs has led experts to the recent discovery of Indian and Asian borders and the activities that take place below.
Simon Klemperer, lead author of the study and professor of geophysics at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, said: “A main debate among geologists is whether a continental collision looks like an ocean collision or not,” according to Stanford News.
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Efforts to locate geothermal springs
Klemperer, along with his team, researched this collusion further by collecting samples from these regions for more than a decade. These samples were collected both in the Buddhist territory of Tibet and in India.
Hot springs located hundreds of kilometers across the mountains and plateau were located, and Klemperer used the chemical bubbling method to monitor activities taking place below the surface.
Experimenting on hot springs using helium, a rare gas, he was able to reveal a warm mantle, which was the Asian plate, and a cooler plate which was the Indian. The helium isotope result showed that the coldest plate could only be detected below the Himalayas, as it is completely detached from Tibet.
“It’s amazing that we now have this remarkably well-defined boundary a few kilometers wide at the surface above a plate boundary 100 kilometers deep,” Klemperer said.
Subduction of oceanic crust
Oceanic subduction involves oceanic lithosphere recycled into the Earth’s mantle at converging boundaries. oceanic subduction only occurs when two oceanic plates collide. One is subducted by the other, that is, one slips and sinks under the other. Japan, Indonesia and the Aleutian Islands are examples of this type of subduction.
According to one theory, oceanic subduction brings the two continental plates closer together when they collide. In the 1960s, researchers proved that the movement of these plates caused mountain building, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, but the reason for this movement had not yet been revealed.
Klemperer thinks this new revelation could advance research to find out what controls and drives plate tectonics.
According to Klemperer, more research remains to be done as these recent findings are currently being observed in relation to the Himalayan collision.
“We see the same processes through these different lenses, and we have to figure out how to put them together,” Klemperer added.
Related article: Origin of Swiss Alps and Molasse plateau basin re-examined due to new evidence
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