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Geoscientific Research in the Himalaya

Added by: A. Nozdrovická, 2.5.2019, 665 visit

The Himalaya are an open book of Earth’s history. There is no other place on our planet that would allow us to study such dynamics of geological phenomena. One of the basic postulates in geology is the principle of actualism. According to this principle, the geological processes that have occurred in the Earth’s past are the same as the processes occurring nowadays. Therefore, if we want to look for active fault zones in our mountain ranges and study them, which is one of the goals of the APVV 16-0146 WECAFARE (Western Carpathians Faults Research) project, one of the key research methods is to compare the signs of active geological processes in the Alpine-Carpathian-Himalayan orogenic belt.
The geology of the Himalaya is in many ways similar to our Western Carpathians. But there is one significant difference: what has already happened or is almost imperceptible in our geological development, is happening in the Himalaya on a much larger and more intensive scale. That is also why they are the tallest and the most dynamic mountain range on Earth.
In the first half of April 2019, geoscientists - experts in the field of structural geology, tectonics, stratigraphy, petrology, applied geophysics, and geodesy from the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Comenius University in Bratislava, the Earth Science Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, and the Faculty of Civil Engineering of the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, participated in a scheduled field research in the western part of Nepal, in the surroundings of the second largest city in Nepal - Pokhara and in the Kali Gandaki river valley, in between two eight-thousanders Dhaulagiri and Annapurna.
Even with the advanced technology available nowadays, it is not easy to carry out such research, which is why every new finding is of great importance. The scientists have spent nine days in the field with their Nepalese colleagues from the Department of Geology of Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, researching the unique geology of this monumental mountain range on an almost 100-kilometer profile of the Lower Mustang District, spreading from the Lesser Himalaya all the way to the center of the High Himalaya.
The great amounts of construction projects across the country as well as the need for precautionary engineering measures to reduce the impacts of large earthquakes and landslides, guarantee job security for geology, geophysics, and geodesy graduates. For this reason, there are around 150 students of geology at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu every year. The research trip in Nepal was concluded by an almost two hours long joint presentation and discussion at the university, on the topic of lithospheric research in the Carpathian-Pannonian region, neo-Alpine development of the inner Western Carpathians, and remote sensing through satellite radar interferometry InSAR as a very effective, accurate, and inexpensive method to research e.g. landslides and other deformations of Earth’s surface. The acquired scientific knowledge and work-related, but more importantly informal meetings with the Nepalese colleagues make for a promising prospect for further collaboration.
The costs of this research trip were covered by projects: APVV-16-0146; APVV-15-0050, VEGA 2/0006/19.
Safe and problem-free stay in Nepal was ensured by: Ganesh Thakuri (Subin), Mahesh Ji (both from Utmost Adventure Trekking), geologists Assist. Prof. Ashok Sigdel, Dr. Subash Acharya (Department of Geology, Tribhuvan University), Dr. Diwakar Khadka (Mistri Khola Hydroelectric Project).
Ján Madarás, Earth Science Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences
Photo: J. Madarás, P. Siman


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Účastníci terénneho výskumu v západnej časti nepálskych Himaláji. Zľava: Pavol Siman, Subash Acharya, Ashok Sigdel, Ján Madarás, František Marko, Juraj Papčo, Kamil Fekete, Andrej Mojzeš, Miroslav Bielik. Pohľad na masív Annapurny (vľavo Annapurna South, 7219 m, vpravo Machhapuchhre, 6997 m) z dedinky Sarangkot (1500 m) nad mestom Pokhara.
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Južná stena a vrchol Dhaulagiri (8167 m) z Kalopani (2530 m). Vrcholovú časť Dhaulagiri, rovnako ako Annapurny tvoria staropaleozoické (kambricko - ordovické) sedimentárne horniny - bridlice, vápence, kremence
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Machhapuchhre (6997m) v preklade znamená
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Panoráma Kagbeni (2810 m) v údolí rieky Kali Gandaki Nadi. Masív vľavo nad zeleným údolím (3950 m) tvoria bridlice, vápence a pieskovce spodnokriedového veku (neokóm). Smerom na sever je územie Horného Mustangu, na hranici s čínskym Tibetom. Dominantnú plošinu v strede nad údolím tvoria hrubé glaciálno-fluviálne usadeniny kvartérneho veku. Pohľad z výšky zhruba 3000 m.