Earthquake Experts


A 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal over the weekend. We have 2 experts who can discuss the science behind earthquakes.
Published: 27Apr2015

McGill Experts:

Christie Rowe

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Expertise: Source of earthquakes and other “non-conventional” seismic signals

christie.rowe [at]


English Only


Rebecca Harrington

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Expertise: Tectonics, structural geology, fault rock geochemistry

rebecca.harrington [at]


English Only

Dr. Harrington works on earthquake source physics, which includes looking at how fast the fault ruptures in an earthquake, and how much energy a given earthquake generates in the form of seismic waves compared to its size. 

The Nepal earthquake occurred along the Himalayan rupture front, which marks the tectonic plate boundary where India and the Eurasian Plate are colliding.  The earthquake appears to have happened on, or very near, the plate boundary fault marking the continent-continent collision.  In spite of the roughly 50 mm/yr convergence rate (roughly the rate at which your fingernails grow), the Nepal earthquake is only the 5th of similar sized events to have occurred since 1897.  Preliminary work seems to suggest that the earthquake may have ruptured a patch of the plate boundary fault that has some overlap with the rupture patch of the M 8.1 Bihar earthquake that happened in 1934

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