Mars Crater Named After Nepal Quake-hit Village Langtang

Posted: Jun 18 2016, 1:25pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


Mars Crater Named after Nepal Quake-hit Village Langtang
In this photograph taken on April 6, 2016, prayer flags flutter ahead of the valley near the village of Langtang. Langtang in Nepal is now little more than a graveyard. The once tranquil mountain village was obliterated last April when a massive earthquake shattered a glacier, raining tonnes of ice, snow and rock down into the valley below, where hundreds of bodies still lie buried. Credit: PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images

A crater on Mars has been named after one of the villages worst hit by the 2015 earthquake in Nepal.

At least 215 people were killed in Langtang, a popular trekking site, when the April 25 quake triggered an avalanche that swamped the village, BBC reported on Saturday.

The International Astronomical Union has now named a 9.8 km (six mile) wide crater on Mars as Langtang.

The researcher behind the move, Tjalling de Haas, said it was "a tribute" to the Nepali village.

Dr de Haas, who studies Mars's physical geography at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, told the BBC he chose Langtang because his colleague had worked there while studying Himalayan glaciers.

"It was his base camp for a long period, so we said maybe it's a nice tribute to call [the crater] Langtang," he said.

Langtang was a "scientifically important" crater, de Haas said. "The marks on the top of the crater wall were probably water flows, and below them you can see ridges -- the remains of former glaciers."

He has named another crater Bunnik, after his hometown near Utrecht. Both names were approved by the International Astronomical Union Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature.

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