Ratu River Expedition

An EOS tectonics team heads down to the Ratu River.
To a site at the feet of the Himalaya. 140km South of Mt Everest.
Which sits on a massive fault that runs deep under the mountains.

Using one truck, 264 geophones pulse (at 10-300 pulses/second) up to 2km deep,
surveying the sub-surface, reflecting sound waves off rock layers.
To visualise the faults and the underground.

Asst. Prof Judith Hubbard leads the team.
Studying links between the surface and sub-surface.
Between the deformation above and fault slip below.

The Ratu River Expedition – Trailer from EOS on Vimeo.

A/Prof Judith: “First, I had to learn how to do field work in Nepal, a place to which I had only once travelled. Fieldwork in a region like this is complicated, and must balance many different aspects: language barriers, local collaborations, lack of infrastructure, food safety, road safety, wildlife, and interactions with local people. At various times we have delayed fieldwork due to regional political issues. We also had a problem with wildlife in one of our research sites, where jackals chewed up our cables. At some points we even had concerns about elephants and tigers!

A/Prof Judith
A/Prof Judith Hubbard

“… My second main area of growth is surrounding the equipment … working in Nepal not only am I responsible for a 6-tonne scientific truck and over a kilometer of cabling, but I am responsible for it in an area with limited resources and expertise… I have learnt a lot about mechanics, electronics and hydraulics – and I have also learned to appreciate the skills of people in places like Nepal. One of the great things about working in Nepal is that people there learn how to make do with what they have – so for instance, when the starter motor on our truck burned out, the local mechanic built a new one. Or, when a thick chain broke on the minibuggy, he welded one of the right length…

“Overall, however, working in Nepal has been a great experience; the interactions with local children and adults have been rewarding, our local staff have also been eager to work with us and assist, and everyone on the team enjoys traveling within Nepal.”


Quakes shake up or release the stresses in faults.
Nepal continues to sit on a geologically active fault.
Which has produced staggering quakes in 1934 and 2015.

As unsuspecting people continue to live out their busy lives on the surface.
Deep below, sections of the fault are yet to break.
Yet to thrust.

Through revelations of the Ratu River Expedition,
it is hoped that people will learn about the geological hazards,
about life above, and down below.

About the Forces of Nature.
The Lives of Man.
About Science.

The Ratu River Expedition,
an award-winning documentary.
Involving the first study of its kind.

With the Nepalese Dept of Mines and Geology.
And the Structural Geology Group at Earth Observatory Science.
Led by Asst. Prof Judith Hubbard

25 minutes.
A quality investment of geological depth and design
Created by the Art & Media Group in the Earth Observatory of Science
with the help of the Nepalese team.

Watch the film. And if you’re hungry for more,
Come to the Science Centre Singapore.
To the Earth: Our Untamed Planet exhibition.

Be inspired!

Enjoy the pictures below in the slideshow which shows a snapshot of what took place at the official screening of the Ratu River Screening at Science Centre Singapore!

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