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Index – Science – This can change the direction of river flow

Index – Science – This can change the direction of river flow

Rivers do all sorts of strange things, from flowing backwards to changing direction, and sometimes these changes can be caused by seismic events like earthquakes, according to reports IFL Science.

According to a new study presented by the portal

A major earthquake 2,500 years ago caused one of the largest rivers on the planet, the Ganges, to suddenly change its course.

According to the research, this discovery is a breakthrough because although it has long been known that rivers change direction – what science calls a “reversal” – it has not been confirmed that an earthquake could be the driving force, especially for a river as huge as Ganges river. .

Today, the Ganges River extends over 2,575 kilometers from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal. Together with other rivers, including the Brahmaputra and Meghna, it forms the second largest river system in the world, surpassed only by the Amazon in terms of water flow.

Flow direction changes over decades or multiple floods are part of the life of a river. This is because sediment washed upriver can change the position of the land, raising the river bed so that the water flows in a slightly different direction and finds a path of least resistance.

However, breakouts don't have to be a long process. By examining satellite images, the research team discovered that the Ganges River appears to be a former main channel, running parallel to the current course of the river for a distance of about 100 kilometers.

The area was surveyed in 2018 when it retreated to the riverbank

So-called earthquakes are characterized by the presence of strips of sand protruding vertically from horizontal clay layers, which are known phenomena associated with earthquakes.

The earthquakes were found over a large area of ​​land, and they all appear to have a similar pattern, indicating that they formed at the same time. Chemical analysis of the earthquakes showed that they date back to 2,500 years ago, when researchers say a magnitude 7 or 8 earthquake changed the landscape.

As for the source of the earthquake that displaced the Ganges River, it may have originated from the subduction zone to the south and east, where part of the oceanic crust runs beneath Bangladesh, Myanmar, and northeastern India. Alternatively, extensive faults at the base of the Himalayas could be the driving forces.

However, this latest suggestion is a bit worrying, as research suggests that these areas could be hit by another earthquake of the same magnitude that changed the course of the Ganges.

Earthquakes are incredibly deadly because of their ability to displace water into land and sea, unleashing catastrophic tsunamis. Therefore, a lot of research is being done to better predict when these natural disasters will occur, including exploring the geology of subduction zones that cause huge earthquakes.

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