We compiled available news and internet accounts of damage and other effects from the 26th January, 2001, Bhuj earthquake, and interpreted them to obtain modified Mercalli intensities at over 200 locations throughout the Indian subcontinent. These values are used to map the intensity distribution using a simple mathematical interpolation method. The maps reveal several interesting features. Within the Kachchh region, the most heavily damaged villages are concentrated towards the western edge of the inferred fault, consistent with western directivity. Significant sediment-induced amplification is also suggested at a number of locations around the Gulf of Kachchh to the south of the epicenter. Away from the Kachchh region intensities were clearly amplified significantly in areas that are along rivers, within deltas, or on coastal alluvium such as mud flats and salt pans. In addition we use fault rupture parameters inferred from teleseismic data to predict shaking intensity at distances of 0-1000 km. We then convert the predicted hard rock ground motion parameters to MMI using a relationship (derived from internet-based intensity surveys) that assigns MMI based on the average effects in a region. The predicted MMIs are typically lower by 1-2 units than those estimated from news accounts. This discrepancy is generally consistent with the expected effect of sediment response, but it could also reflect other factors such as a tendency for media accounts to focus on the most dramatic damage, rather than the average effects. Our modeling results also suggest, however, that the Bhuj earthquake generated more high-frequency shaking than is expected for earthquakes of similar magnitude in California, and may therefore have been especially damaging.
Additional Publication Details
A media-based assessment of damage and ground motions from the January 26th, 2001 M 7.6 Bhuj, India earthquake
Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Sciences - Earth and Planetary Sciences