Report on a reconnaissance survey of damage in Kathmandu caused by the 2015 Gorkha Nepal earthquake

Mitsu Okamura, Netra P. Bhandary, Shinichiro Mori, Narayan Marasini, Hemanta Hazarika

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Nepal was hit by the M7.8 Gorkha earthquake on April 25, 2015, which was the largest earthquake in Nepal's history since 1934. The recent report presented by the Government of Nepal indicates that the recorded death toll has reached about 8800. Following the earthquake, the Japanese Geotechnical Society (JGS), Asian Technical Committee of ISSMGE on Geotechnical Natural Hazards (ATC3), Japan Society of Civil Engineers (JSCE) and Japan Association for Earthquake Engineering (JAEE) decided to jointly dispatch a survey team to Nepal to conduct a reconnaissance survey of the major damage caused by the earthquake. This report summarizes the results of the survey of the geotechnical and structural damage in the Kathmandu valley, which were observed by the survey sub-team between May 1 and 8, 2015. Geotechnical and geological characteristics of a deep soil profile up to 600 m and a shallow profile up to 30 m are also described with the help of the database system established by Bhandary et al. (2012). In order to study the correlation between building damage ratios and the predominant period of ground vibration, a partial exhaustive type survey was conducted along NS line where microtremor measurements had been previously conducted in 2008. The predominant period of ground vibration was short at the ridge of the valley and long at its center, ranging from 1.2 to 4.5 s. A total of 532 buildings were assessed and more than 90% were classified as "No damage" or "Negligible to slight Damage" (Grade 0 and Grade 1), whereas only 5% of buildings were assessed as "Substantial to heavy damage" to "Destruction" (Grade 3 to Grade 5). Five locations were identified where the soil had liquefied. Liquefaction-induced damage to structures at these locations was not found, except at Nepal Engineering College where minor settlement of the college building was observed. During the 1934 earthquake, foundation liquefaction was observed in Tundhikhel area, but in the 2015 earthquake no evidence of liquefaction was detected in this area. The Kathmandu-Bhaktapur Road of Araniko Highway was heavily damaged in the Lokanthali area. The subsidence of soft soils and their lateral spreading in this area may have exacerbated the damage to this road.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1015-1029
Number of pages15
JournalSoils and Foundations
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


Dive into the research topics of 'Report on a reconnaissance survey of damage in Kathmandu caused by the 2015 Gorkha Nepal earthquake'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this