Liquefaction potential for the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal: a sensitivity study

Rama Pokhrel, Charlotte Gilder, Paul J Vardanega*, Flavia De Luca, Raffaele De Risi, Max Werner, Anastasios Sextos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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An assessment of liquefaction potential for the Kathmandu Valley considering seasonal variability of the groundwater table has been conducted. To gain deeper understanding seven historical liquefaction records located adjacent to borehole datapoints (published in SAFER/GEO-591) were used to compare two methods for the estimation of liquefaction potential. Standard Penetration Test (SPT) blowcount data from 75 boreholes inform the new liquefaction potential maps. Various scenarios were modelled, i.e., seasonal variation of the groundwater table and peak ground acceleration. Ordinary kriging, implemented in ArcGIS, was used to prepare maps at urban scale. Liquefaction potential calculations using the methodology from (Sonmez, Environ Geol 44:862–871, 2003) provided a good match to the historical liquefaction records in the region. Seasonal variation of the groundwater table is shown to have a significant effect on the spatial distribution of calculated liquefaction potential across the valley. The less than anticipated liquefaction manifestations due to the Gorkha earthquake are possibly due to the seasonal water table level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-51
Number of pages27
JournalBulletin of Earthquake Engineering
Issue number1
Early online date23 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the support from the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) project ‘Seismic Safety and Resilience of Schools in Nepal’ SAFER (EP/P028926/1). The second author acknowledges the support of EPSRC (EP/R51245X/1).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Kathmandu Valley
  • Seismic hazard
  • Liquefaction potential
  • Groundwater table
  • Kriging


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