THE CONTINENTAL SHUFFLE
The Land of India as we know today did not exist when our planet Earth was created and had arrived to take its place in the solar system.Our lives depend upon the life giving force of the rivers that flow down our Land and the most important rivers such as Sindhu, Ganges and Brahmaputra take their birth in the Himalayan mountains.We need to know about the formation of the Himalayas, the future of Himalayas and also know the consequences of climate change and be aware of the dangers of losing the glaciers which are the life giving source of our fresh water.We need to defend our Himalayan Frontier as our destiny is inexorably linked to their health and vitality. In an emotional sense, the idea of defending Himalayas has a great appeal and in response to the Chinese aggression in 1962, I served in the Indian Army to defend the Himalayan frontier. Apart from the threat posed by the enemy, we need to understand the bigger threat of global warming and its impact upon the Himalayan glaciers.
Over 250 million years ago, India, Africa, Australia, South America and Antarctica were all one continent called Pangea and is also known as Gondwana Land.
Over the next several million years, this giant southern continent proceeded to break up, forming the continents we know today. What ultimately formed the majestic Himalayas about 60 million years ago, was the rapid movement of India northward toward the continent of Euro Asia (Laurasia). India charged across the equator at rates up to 15 cm/year in the process closing an ocean named Tethys that separated fragments of Pangea. This ocean is entirely gone today.
To understand the fascinating mechanics of the collision of India with Asia, we must first look beneath the Earth’s surface. For at least 80 million years, the oceanic Indian Plate continued its inexorable collision with southern Asia, including Tibet. The Indian sub-continent began to be driven horizontally beneath Tibet like a giant wedge, forcing Tibet upwards and this process continues today. In about 10 million years, India will plow into Tibet a further 180 km and the country of Nepal will technically cease to exist. But the mountain range we know as the Himalaya will not go away.
We are assured that the Himalaya would continue to exist in the future but our future depends upon the survival of the snow fields of the Himalaya.