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Experimental, numerical and field study investigating a heritage structure collapse after the 2015 Gorkha earthquake

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sean Wilkinson



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2020, The Author(s).This paper presents an investigation of the collapse of a 325-year-old multi-tiered heritage temple during the 2015 Gorkha earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal. The research comprises a reconnaissance survey followed by a geotechnical investigation and numerical back-analysis carried out to understand the potential causes of the collapse. The assessment of the structural configuration of the temple indicated seismic vulnerability in the design due to the presence of discontinuous columns over the height of the temple and age-weakened bonding in the masonry walls. The geotechnical investigation revealed the presence of competent soil strata at the location, assisting the survey which indicated no differential or excessive settlement in the foundation. A series of cyclic triaxial tests were conducted on samples recovered during the geotechnical investigation to determine dynamic behaviour of the soil. Further, dynamic analysis of the plinth of the temple under the recorded acceleration–time history indicated a maximum drift percentage of 1.4% and residual relative displacement of 32 mm suggesting the potential reason behind the collapse. The output of this research will support seismic rehabilitation of ancient structures within World Heritage sites across Nepal and effective action plans to safeguard them against future earthquake hazard.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kumar A, Hughes PN, Sarhosis V, Toll D, Wilkinson S, Coningham R, Acharya KP, Weise K, Joshi A, Davis C, Kunwar RB, Maskey PN

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Natural Hazards

Year: 2020

Volume: 101

Pages: 231-253

Online publication date: 12/02/2020

Acceptance date: 01/02/2020

Date deposited: 24/02/2020

ISSN (print): 0921-030X

ISSN (electronic): 1573-0840

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s11069-020-03871-7


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