Research ArticleGEOMORPHOLOGY

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

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Science  16 Dec 2015:
aac8353
DOI: 10.1126/science.aac8353

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Abstract

The Gorkha earthquake (M 7.8) on 25 April 2015 and later aftershocks struck South Asia, killing ~9,000 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 4,312 co-seismic and post-seismic landslides. We also surveyed 491 glacier lakes for earthquake damage, but found only 9 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.

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