Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences



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Geology Colloquium: Roger Bilham

Geology Colloquium: Roger Bilham

The disastrous Nepal 2015 earthquake: What happened and what's next

The Gorkha earthquake: an incomplete Himalayan rupture

By Roger Bilham

Although an earthquake near Kathmandu had been anticipated for more than two decades, the Mw7.8 Gorkha earthquake of 25 April 2015 was smaller than expected and in the wrong place. Within ten seconds of shaking its 150x60 km2 rupture had lifted Kathmandu 1 m, and shifted it bodily 1.8 m to the south (http://youtu.be/VS6WVz4V0ps).  Yet local accelerations (?0.25g) were lower than in historical Himalayan earthquakes, thereby averting a much worse disaster.  The official deathtoll exceeded 8700, half a million homes were damaged or destroyed, and 4.5 million rendered homeless. Had the earthquake occurred, not a midday on Saturday, but 12  hours earlier, or during school hours the deathtoll could have been 4-6 times larger.  The main tectonic feature of the earthquake is that it failed to rupture the entire Himalayan décollement to the surface, a feature that can now be recognized as common to half a dozen Himalayan Mw8.4 earthquakes.  A great earthquake is anticipated in western Nepal as the repeat of a Mw>8.6 earthquake in 1505 or earlier, which should it occur now could in principle catalyze the release of both the 1833 and 2015 up-dip slip deficits south of Kathmandu.  The timing of this future great earthquake remains uncertain. 


location

Benson Room 180

Amenities

Refreshments provided

contact

2015-08-26
 
Reading the IPCC Report: Jerry Meehl

Reading the IPCC Report: Jerry Meehl

Points of Departure by Jerry Meehl

IPCC WG II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability 

ATOC/CIRES Seminar Series

Ever wonder what the IPCC report says? Attend the ATOC/CIRES Seminar Series Reading the IPCC Report and hear experts in the IPCC chapter areas explain how climate change may impact us, and how it might be mitigated.

location

CIRES Auditorium
2015-08-27
 
 
 
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