Holidaying in the tallest mountain ranges on the planet earth, the Himalayas, has made me study the incredible history of its origin. It’s a story that will convince you again that there is no intelligent designer designing the universe.
Himalayas, though the tallest mountain range, is also the youngest. The range began to form only about 50 million years ago as a result of collision of Indian plate and Eurasian plate.
About 225 million years ago, India was a large island still situated off the Australian coast, and a vast ocean (called Tethys Sea) separated India from the Asian continent. When Pangaea broke apart about 200 million years ago, India began to forge northward. By studying the history — and ultimately the closing– of the Tethys, scientists have reconstructed India’s northward journey. About 80 million years ago, India was located roughly 6,400 km south of the Asian continent, moving northward at a rate of about 9 m a century. When India rammed into Asia about 40 to 50 million years ago, its northward advance slowed by about half. The collision and associated decrease in the rate of plate movement are interpreted to mark the beginning of the rapid uplift of the Himalayas.
Himalayas, it seems is still growing tall, about a centimetre a year, due to continuing push of Indian plate on to Asian mass. At the same time, erosion due to climatic forces is preventing more rapid growth.
We stayed in Leh, Ladakh, at a height above sea level of about 3500 metres (11500 feet ). We went up to a height of 5359 m (17,582 ft) when we visited the snow-covered Khardung la pass.
Many historical and mythological figures are supposed to have got enlightenment by visiting and meditating in the Himalayas. But none, it seems, where aware how dramatic is the history of formation of this mountain range. It was only through the hard work of scientists working in the field of geology that we got enlightened about the origin of Himalayas. Meditation, it proved, can never match evidence gathering and experiments to attain knowledge.
This short visit to the Himalayas has enlightened me about the history of our planet, where I could see different forces of nature shaping the spontaneous unfolding of mega events without any interference of a creator.
To know more about the origin of Himalayas see this informative documentary