University of Colorado at Boulder doctoral student Rebecca Bendick will participate in an American Geophysical Union press briefing at noon on May 29 in Baltimore on the mechanics driving the deformation of the Tibetan Plateau.
Bendick, who has been working with CU-Boulder geology Professor Roger Bilham in the region for the past several years, will discuss the convergence rates between the Indian and Asian tectonic plates and their effects of the topography of the Tibetan Plateau.
The region of active uplift on the southern edge of the Himalayan Range as defined by seismic activity and river profiles forms an almost perfect arc of a circle that is centered in Siberia, said Bendick. By straightening out the mountainous arc through computer modeling and conducting a statistical analysis, Bendick and Bilham believe they have been able to better characterize the physics driving the deformation of the Himalayas.
The researchers hope to place Global Positioning Satellite receivers on rafts running down rivers of the Himalayas this fall to calculate areas of the highest uplift. Although the rivers are constantly eroding the mountain valleys, areas of intense uplift should be measurable by the satellite system, which is accurate in the vertical plane to less than an inch.
Such measurements may help researchers better predict impending earthquakes in the Himalayan region that threaten thousands of lives. For more information, contact Bendick at (303) 492-0382 or Jim Scott in the CU-Boulder public relations office at 492-3114.