Annual Report 2015: 2015 Gorkha earthquake response

Scientists from Around the World Collaborate to Spot Geohazards  in Work that Leads to Science Paper 

Many of the earliest responders to the Gorkha quake were volunteers scientists from around the world, connected to Nepal by technology and ICIMOD. Within a few days of the quake, dozens of scientists were volunteering to assess what happened in faraway Nepal and analyse impending risks. The worldwide rapid response team, coordinated by ICIMOD, inventoried landslides and mapped dangerous obstructions such as landslide-dammed lakes and rivers, sharing the results quickly with the Government of Nepal and aid agencies and later with the scientific community in a study published in the journal Science.

One striking observation: Most of the 4,312 landslides found by the team occurred north of Kathmandu, where the plate dropped close to a meter. Far fewer landslides were found where the plate lifted up, in the hills around the city and to the south, which rose around a meter and a half. There were also fewer landslides overall than expected, perhaps due to the lack of a surface rupture or other geological characteristics.

Over 60 volunteer scientists came together for the global effort, and 43 authors ultimately contributed to the resulting Science paper, “Geomorphic and Geologic Controls of Geohazards Induced by Nepal’s 2015 Gorkha Earthquake.”