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Observations and Models of Co- and Post-Seismic Deformation Due to the 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha (Nepal) Earthquake

Kang Wang, & Yuri Fialko

Published August 1, 2016, SCEC Contribution #6426, 2016 SCEC Annual Meeting Poster #158

The 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha (Nepal) earthquake occurred along the central Himalayan arc, a convergent boundary between India and Eurasian plates. We use space geodetic data to investigate co- and post-seismic deformation due to the Gorkha earthquake. Because the epicentral area of the earthquake is characterized by strong variations in surface relief and material properties, we developed finite element models that explicitly account for topography and 3-D elastic structure. Compared with slip models obtained using homogenous elastic half-space models, the model including elastic heterogeneity and topography exhibits greater (up to ~ 10%) slip amplitude. GPS observations spanning more than 1 year following the earthquake show overall southward movement and uplift after the Gorkha earthquake, qualitatively similar to the coseismic deformation pattern. Kinematic inversions of GPS data, and forward modeling of stress-driven creep indicate that the observed post-seismic transient is consistent with afterslip on a down-dip extention of the seismic rupture. The Main Himalayan Thrust (MHT) has negligible creep updip of the 2015 rupture, reiterating a future seismic hazard. A poro-elastic rebound may contribute to the observed uplift southward motion, but the predicted surface displacements are small (on the order of 1 cm or less). We also tested a wide range of visco-elastic relaxation models, including 1-D and 3-D variations in the viscosity structure. All tested visco-elastic models predict the opposite signs of horizontal and vertical displacements compared to those observed. Available surface deformation data allow one to rule out a model of a low viscosity channel beneath Tibetan Plateau invoked to explain variations in surface relief at the plateau margins.

Wang, K., & Fialko, Y. (2016, 08). Observations and Models of Co- and Post-Seismic Deformation Due to the 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha (Nepal) Earthquake. Poster Presentation at 2016 SCEC Annual Meeting.

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