Sunday, July 13, 2008

Yarlung Tsangpo

Yarlung Tsangpo

Image credit: NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team.

Yarlung Tsangpo gorge is the longest and deepest canyon on this planet (on land). Here are some facts:

Length: 504.6 km
Deepest point: 6009 meters (at one point one side of the canyon is breathtaking 7057 meters high.
Entrance: 660 meters wide
Narrowest point: 35 meters!

Can you imagine the force of the current at the narrow point?

Grand Canyon in the US:
Length: 370 km
Deepest point: 2133 m

Colca canyon in Peru:
Length: 90 km
Depth: 3200 m

I was so lucky to visit the entrance of the Yarlung Tsangpo (tsangpo actually means river in Tibetan, so I do not write Yarlung river river) and I got a glimpse of Namjagbarwa, the mountain that is like a needle in the rare tectonic knot of the Himalayas. I mean this place is so amazing I have no words. Comely1 found a new article about Yarlung Tsangpo and crustal uplift due to erosion. What that article does not mention is that this place has the largest crustal uplift on this planet - 30 mm pr year - due to convection of the mantel (Earth interior)! Geoscientists get ecstatic over this place, let me tell you!

Image credit left: Noah Finnegan Image credit right: Geodetic Journey

It was politics that actually helped us visit this sensitive area. Since we were not allowed to visit Everest Base Camp, our very friendly Chinese hosts got the visas for this South-Eastern region of Tibet. We did not meet one single foreigner on our trip here.

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