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Estimated casualties in possible future earthquakes south and west of the M7.8 Gorkha earthquake of 2015

  • Max WyssEmail author
  • Deepak Chamlagain
Research Article - Solid Earth Sciences

Abstract

The 2015 M7.8 Gorkha earthquake has moved the upper, unbroken, part of the Main Himalayan Thrust (MHT) and the neighboring sections of this fault closer to failure. Using the program and data set of QLARM, which has been correct in fatality estimates of past Himalayan earthquakes, we estimate quantitatively the numbers of fatalities, injured and strongly affected people when assumed ruptures along these two sections will happen. In the Kathmandu up-dip scenario with M8.1, we estimate that more than 100,000 people may perish, about half a million may be injured, and 19 million are likely to be affected strongly, if we assume the high virtual attenuation observed for the 2015 Gorkha earthquake exists here also. Likewise, if the 100 km underthrusting segment west of Gorkha ruptures, we quantitatively estimate that 12,000–62,000 people may perish and 4 million to 8 million will be strongly affected, in a down-dip (lower half of the thrust plane) and an up-dip rupture (upper half) scenario, respectively. If the up-dip part of the MHT cannot rupture by itself, and greater earthquakes are required to generate the several meters of displacement observed in trenches across the MHT, then our estimates are minima.

Keywords

Himalayan earthquakes Earthquake risk Earthquake losses in Nepal 

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Copyright information

© Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences & Polish Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Centre for Earth Simulation FoundationGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of GeologyTribhuvan UniversityKathmanduIndia

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