A massive 7.8 earthquake rocked the country of Nepal on Saturday. The current death toll is 1,910, with more deaths possibly unreported. Nepal, nestled in the Himalayan Mountains between India and Tibet, saw ancient temples crumble as well as avalanches in the surrounding mountains as a side-effect of the earthquake. The quake itself was the most powerful one in over 80 years.
The earthquake struck just before noon and was most severely felt in Nepal’s capital of Kathmandu as well as the densely populated Kathmandu Valley. A magnitude-6.6 aftershock hit about an hour later, and smaller aftershocks continued to be felt even hours later.
Nepal, with a population of 27 million, is located close to the Indian Plate and the Eurasian Plate. As these two tectonic plates merge, tremors and/or earthquakes will result. An earthquake occurs when friction between one plate becomes too high, causing it to slip on the other plate. This rapid release in stress causes rapid movement of the tectonic plate, resulting in an earthquake.