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Durham University

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Publication details for UNESCO Professor Robin Coningham

Kumar, Ashutosh, Hughes, Paul N., Sarhosis, Vasilis, Toll, David, Wilkinson, Sean, Coningham, Robin, Acharya, Kosh Prasad, Weise, Kai, Joshi, Annie, Davis, Christopher, Kunwar, Ram Bahadur & Maskey, Prem Nath (2020). Experimental, numerical and field study investigating a heritage structure collapse after the 2015 Gorkha earthquake. Natural Hazards 101(1): 231-253.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

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.