A Caltech Library Service

Kathmandu Basin as a local modulator of seismic waves: 2-D modelling of non-linear site response under obliquely incident waves

Oral, Elif and Ayoubi, Peyman and Ampuero, Jean-Paul and Asimaki, Domniki and Bonilla, Luis Fabian (2022) Kathmandu Basin as a local modulator of seismic waves: 2-D modelling of non-linear site response under obliquely incident waves. Geophysical Journal International, 231 (3). pp. 1996-2008. ISSN 0956-540X. doi:10.1093/gji/ggac302.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The 2015 M_W 7.8 Gorkha, Nepal earthquake is the largest event to have struck the capital city of Kathmandu in recent times. One of its surprising features was the frequency content of the recorded ground motion, exhibiting a notable amplification at low frequencies (< 2 Hz) and a contrasting depletion at higher frequencies. The latter has been partially attributed to the damper behaviour of the Kathmandu basin. While such weak high-frequency ground motion helped avoiding severe damage in the city, the catastrophic outcomes of earlier earthquakes in the region attest to a contrasting role of the Kathmandu basin as a broad-band amplifier, in addition to possible source effects. Given the possibility of future strong events in the region, our main objective is to elucidate the seismic behaviour of the Kathmandu basin by focusing on site effects. We numerically model 2-D P–SV wave propagation in a broad frequency band (up to 10 Hz), incorporating the most recent data for the Kathmandu basin geometry, soil stratigraphy and geotechnical soil properties, and accounting for the non-linear effect of multidimensional soil plasticity on wave propagation. We find that: (1) the Kathmandu basin generally amplifies low frequency ground motion (< 2 Hz); (2) waves with large incidence angles relative to vertical can dramatically amplify the high frequency ground motion with respect to bedrock despite the damping effect of soil non-linearity and (3) the spatial distribution of peak ground motion amplitudes along the basin is highly sensitive to soil non-linearity and wave incidence (angle and direction), favouring larger values near the basin edges located closer to the source, as observed during the 2015 event. Our modelling approach and findings can support the ongoing resilience practices in Nepal and can guide future seismic hazard assessment studies for other sites that feature similar complexities in basin geometry, soil stratigraphy and dynamic soil behaviour.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Oral, Elif0000-0003-1081-5580
Ayoubi, Peyman0000-0001-6795-4923
Ampuero, Jean-Paul0000-0002-4827-7987
Asimaki, Domniki0000-0002-3008-8088
Bonilla, Luis Fabian0000-0001-6270-9822
Additional Information:This work was supported by the French National Research Agency (ANR) through project FAULTS_R_GEMS (grant ANR-17-CE31-0008) and Investments-in-the-Future project UCAJEDI (grant ANR-15-IDEX-01). We acknowledge the comments of the Editor Víctor M. Cruz-Atienza, Kim Olsen and an anonymous reviewer that improved the quality of this manuscript.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (ANR)ANR-17-CE31-0008
Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (ANR)ANR-15-IDEX-01
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220920-62768000
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:117103
Deposited By: Melissa Ray
Deposited On:25 Sep 2022 13:57
Last Modified:02 Dec 2022 21:12

Repository Staff Only: item control page