Source modeling of the 2015 Mw 7.8 Nepal (Gorkha) earthquake sequence: Implications for geodynamics and earthquake hazards

Tectonophysics
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Abstract

The Gorkha earthquake on April 25th, 2015 was a long anticipated, low-angle thrust-faulting event on the shallow décollement between the India and Eurasia plates. We present a detailed multiple-event hypocenter relocation analysis of the Mw 7.8 Gorkha Nepal earthquake sequence, constrained by local seismic stations, and a geodetic rupture model based on InSAR and GPS data. We integrate these observations to place the Gorkha earthquake sequence into a seismotectonic context and evaluate potential earthquake hazard.

Major results from this study include (1) a comprehensive catalog of calibrated hypocenters for the Gorkha earthquake sequence; (2) the Gorkha earthquake ruptured a ~ 150 × 60 km patch of the Main Himalayan Thrust (MHT), the décollement defining the plate boundary at depth, over an area surrounding but predominantly north of the capital city of Kathmandu (3) the distribution of aftershock seismicity surrounds the mainshock maximum slip patch; (4) aftershocks occur at or below the mainshock rupture plane with depths generally increasing to the north beneath the higher Himalaya, possibly outlining a 10–15 km thick subduction channel between the overriding Eurasian and subducting Indian plates; (5) the largest Mw 7.3 aftershock and the highest concentration of aftershocks occurred to the southeast the mainshock rupture, on a segment of the MHT décollement that was positively stressed towards failure; (6) the near surface portion of the MHT south of Kathmandu shows no aftershocks or slip during the mainshock. Results from this study characterize the details of the Gorkha earthquake sequence and provide constraints on where earthquake hazard remains high, and thus where future, damaging earthquakes may occur in this densely populated region. Up-dip segments of the MHT should be considered to be high hazard for future damaging earthquakes.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Source modeling of the 2015 Mw 7.8 Nepal (Gorkha) earthquake sequence: Implications for geodynamics and earthquake hazards
Series title Tectonophysics
DOI 10.1016/j.tecto.2016.08.004
Volume 714-715
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center
Description 10 p.
First page 21
Last page 30
Country Nepal
Other Geospatial Gorkha
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