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High & Dry: Images of the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau

The Rocks of Tibet

rocky exposure on the tibetan plateau

(Image credit: Image courtesy of Xiaoming Wang)

About 1 million years ago, an ancient woolly rhinoceros roamed what is now the Zanda Basin (shown here) in the foothills of the Himalayas in southwestern Tibet. The previously unknown species was equipped with a "snow shovel" on its head, suggesting giants like this were already adapted for the cold, icy climate of the Himalayas before the Ice Age, scientists announced this week in the journal Science.

The authors also discovered fossils from other cold-adapted giants in the Basin, including a snow leopard, blue sheep and Tibetan antelope. The findings suggest the Tibetan Plateau was a cold cradle for the evolution of Ice Age beasts, such as the woolly mammoth. [Read full story]

Heavy Weights in Thin Air

(Image credit: Science.)

A heavily loaded Nepalese porter on the route between the Kathmandu valley and Namche Bazaar in the Mt. Everest valley. The head strap (namlo), load basket (doko) and T-stick (tokma) for supporting the load during frequent rest periods are shown. The Nepalese porters can carry loads of 20% of their body weight for 'free', that is, for no increase in their metabolic rate over their unloaded rate at the same walking speed.

Karakoram

Unlike the rest of the Himalayas, which are losing mass, the Karakoram glaciers seem to be holding steady or even gaining ice, finds a new study. (Shown here, the Karakoram's Hunza and Lady Finger peaks.)

(Image credit: Takayuki Hayato | Shutterstock)

Unlike the rest of the Himalayas, which are losing mass, the Karakoram glaciers seem to be holding steady or even gaining ice, finds a new study. (Shown here, the Karakoram's Hunza and Lady Finger peaks.)

Nuclear Fallout Layer Missing in Himalayan Glacier

(Image credit: USGS)

city of rocks.

Climate Controls Mountain Heights, New Study Shows

(Image credit: SINC / Juan José González Trueba)

Glacier of Monte Perdido, Pyrenees.

Depth of Himalayan Mountain Roots Revealed

(Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.)

Mount Everest in the Himalayas.

Black Soot Might Be Main Culprit of Melting Himalayas

(Image credit: NASA's Johnson Space Center)

Himalayan glaciers, as seen in this image taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station, help replenish many of Asia’s most important rivers.

Kunlun Mountains

Kunlun Mountains on the Tibetan Plateau

(Image credit: Marin Clark)

Kunlun Mountains at the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. These mountains formed soon after India collided with Asia 50 million years ago despite the fact that the collision was far to the south at this time.

The Himalayas

Bird's eye view of the Himalayan range taken from Pakistan.

(Image credit: skyearth | Shutterstock)

The lofty Himalayas, which stretch some 1,800 miles (2,900 km) along the border between India and Tibet, began to form between 40 million and 50 million years ago, when two large landmasses, India and Eurasia collided. Since the two plates had about the same density, the only way they could relieve the pressure from the crash was to thrust skyward, forming the jagged Himalayan peaks.

Beall-Goldstein Beall on horse with Tibetan women

Cynthia Beall has known these Tibetan nomad women for more than 20 years. She has been returning to their camp to study how Tibetan nomads survive in their harsh, high-altitude environment.

(Image credit: Beall-Goldstein, Case Western Reserve University)

Cynthia Beall has known these Tibetan nomad women for more than 20 years. She has been returning to their camp to study how Tibetan nomads survive in their harsh, high-altitude environment.