Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Geomorphic and geologic controls of geohazards induced by Nepal’s 2015 Gorkha earthquake

March 9, 2016

The Gorkha earthquake (magnitude 7.8) on 25 April 2015 and later aftershocks struck South Asia, killing ~9000 people and damaging a large region. Supported by a large campaign of responsive satellite data acquisitions over the earthquake disaster zone, our team undertook a satellite image survey of the earthquakes’ induced geohazards in Nepal and China and an assessment of the geomorphic, tectonic, and lithologic controls on quake-induced landslides. Timely analysis and communication aided response and recovery and informed decision-makers. We mapped 4312 coseismic and postseismic landslides. We also surveyed 491 glacier lakes for earthquake damage but found only nine landslide-impacted lakes and no visible satellite evidence of outbursts. Landslide densities correlate with slope, peak ground acceleration, surface downdrop, and specific metamorphic lithologies and large plutonic intrusions.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2016
Title Geomorphic and geologic controls of geohazards induced by Nepal’s 2015 Gorkha earthquake
DOI 10.1126/science.aac8353
Authors J.S. Kargel, G.J. Leonard, D. H. Shugar, U. K. Haritashya, A. Bevington, E.J. Fielding, K. Fujita, M. Geertsema, E. S. Miles, J. Steiner, E. Anderson, S. Bajracharya, G.W. Bawden, D. F. Breashears, A. Byers, B. Collins, M. R. Dhital, A. Donnellan, T. L. Evans, M. L. Geai, M. T. Glasscoe, D. Green, D. R. Gurung, R. Heijenk, A. Hilborn, K. Hudnut, C. Huyck, W. W. Immerzeel, Jiang Li, R. Jibson, A. Kaab, N. R. Khanal, D. Kirschbaum, P. D. A. Kraaijenbrink, D. Lamsal, Liu Shiyin, Lv Mingyang, D. McKinney, N. K. Nahirnick, Nan Zhuotong, S. Ojha, J. Olsenholler, T. H. Painter, M. Pleasants, K. C. Pratima, Q. I. Yuan, B.H. Raup, D. Regmi, D. R. Rounce, A. Sakai, Shangguan Donghui, J. M. Shea, A. B. Shrestha, A. Shukla, D. Stumm, M. van der Kooij, K. Voss, Wang Xin, B. Weihs, Wu Lizong, Yao Xiaojun, M. R. Yoder, N. Young
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Science
Series Number
Index ID 70159156
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earthquake Science Center

Related Content