Martian crater named after Langtang

Martian crater named after Langtang

The International Astronomical Union (IAU), a group of prominent astronomers, has named a Martian crater as Langtang in honour of the region that was buried by landslides triggered by the massive earthquake of April 25, 2015.

The idea to rename the crater was initiated by Tjalling de Haas, who is investigating debris flows and land-forms on Mars at Utretch University, according to Mountain Hydrology, an internet portal maintained by a group of scientists. “The request was officially approved by the International Astronomical Union, and Langtang will now forever be remembered, even on Mars,” it said in a post.

The portal, which shares information on mountains, climate, water cycle, social impacts, said the Langtang crater has a diametre of 12km and contains glacial land-forms and the moraines of “the Last Mars Glacial Maximum and the debris fans formed after the melting of glaciers”. Debris fans are geological phenomena in which water-laden masses of soil and fragmented rock rush down mountainsides, funnel into stream channels, entrain objects in their paths, and form thick, muddy deposits on valley floors.

Craters smaller than 60km in diametre are named after towns, while those bigger than that are named after famous scientists or authors. However, only those craters with significant research interests are renamed.

Langtang, a popular trekking hub in Rasuwa district of Nepal, was engulfed by a massive avalanche triggered by the magnitude 7.8 earthquake. In what turned out to be the worst single incident, a total of 210 people, including foreigners, were killed in the tragedy. A total of 660 people died and 11,376 houses were destroyed in Rasuwa district alone. Nearly 9,000 people were killed across the country in the worst natural disaster to hit the country in more than 80 years. Langtang, which depends on tourist revenue, was badly affected by the earthquake with visitors’ arrivals falling to around 10 persons a day from more than 5o before the quake.

Source: The Kathmandu Post