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Science. 2016 Jan 8;351(6269):aac8353. doi: 10.1126/science.aac8353. Epub 2015 Dec 16.

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

Author information

1
Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA. kargel@hwr.arizona.edu dshugar@uw.edu uharitashya1@udayton.edu.
2
Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA.
3
School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington Tacoma, Tacoma, WA, USA. kargel@hwr.arizona.edu dshugar@uw.edu uharitashya1@udayton.edu.
4
Department of Geology, University of Dayton, Dayton, OH, USA. kargel@hwr.arizona.edu dshugar@uw.edu uharitashya1@udayton.edu.
5
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Prince George, BC, Canada.
6
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA.
7
Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan.
8
Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
9
Institute of Environmental Engineering, Federal Institute of Technology-ETH, Zurich, Switzerland.
10
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL, USA.
11
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu, Nepal.
12
NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, USA.
13
GlacierWorks, Marblehead, MA, USA.
14
The Mountain Institute, Elkins, WV, USA.
15
U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA, USA.
16
Central Department of Geology, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Kathmandu, Nepal.
17
Department of Geography, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada.
18
CVA Engineering, Suresnes, France.
19
Earthquake Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Pasadena, CA, USA.
20
ImageCat, Long Beach, CA, USA.
21
Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands.
22
State Key Laboratory of Geodesy and Earth's Dynamics, Institute of Geodesy and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
23
U.S. Geological Survey, Golden, CO, USA.
24
Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Blindern, Oslo, Norway.
25
Hydrological Sciences Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA.
26
Cold and Arid Regions of Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, China.
27
School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China.
28
Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA.
29
School of Geography Science, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China.
30
Department of Geography, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA.
31
Department of Geology, University of Dayton, Dayton, OH, USA.
32
Arizona Remote Sensing Center, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA.
33
National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA.
34
Himalayan Research Center, Kathmandu, Nepal.
35
Environmental and Water Resources Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA.
36
Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun, India.
37
MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates-GSI, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
38
Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, USA.
39
College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Hunan University of Science and Technology, Xiangtan, China.
40
Geography Department, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, USA.
41
Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) Steward, Alaska Region, Anchorage, AK, USA.
42
College of Geographical Science and Environment, Northwest Normal University, China.
43
Department of Physics, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, USA.
44
Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, Australia.

Abstract

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.

PMID:
26676355
DOI:
10.1126/science.aac8353
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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