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Evolution of coseismic and post‐seismic landsliding after the 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha earthquake, Nepal

Kincey, Mark E.; Rosser, Nick J.; Robinson, Tom R.; Densmore, Alexander L.; Shrestha, Ram; Pujara, Dammar Singh; Oven, Katie J.; Williams, Jack G.; Swirad, Zuzanna M.

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Mark Kincey
PGR Student Doctor of Philosophy

Tom R. Robinson

Ram Shrestha

Dammar Singh Pujara

Katie J. Oven

Jack G. Williams

Zuzanna M. Swirad


Coseismic landslides are a major hazard associated with large earthquakes in mountainous regions. Despite growing evidence for their widespread impacts and persistence, current understanding of the evolution of landsliding over time after large earthquakes, the hazard that these landslides pose, and their role in the mountain sediment cascade remains limited. To address this, we present the first systematic multi-temporal landslide inventory to span the full rupture area of a large continental earthquake across the pre-, co- and post-seismic periods. We focus on the 3.5 years after the 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha earthquake in Nepal and show that throughout this period both the number and area of mapped landslides have remained higher than on the day of the earthquake itself. We document systematic upslope and northward shifts in the density of landsliding through time. Areas where landslides have persisted tend to cluster in space, but those areas that have returned to pre-earthquake conditions are more dispersed. While both pre- and coseismic landslide locations tend to persist within mapped post-earthquake inventories, a wider population of newly activated but spatially dispersed landslides has developed after the earthquake. This is particularly important for post-earthquake recovery plans that are typically based on hazard assessments conducted immediately after the earthquake and thus do not consider the evolving landslide hazard. We show that recovery back to pre-earthquake landsliding rates is fundamentally dependent on how that recovery is defined and measured. Clarity around this definition is particularly important for informing a comprehensive approach to post-earthquake landslide hazard and risk.


Kincey, M. E., Rosser, N. J., Robinson, T. R., Densmore, A. L., Shrestha, R., Pujara, D. S., …Swirad, Z. M. (2021). Evolution of coseismic and post‐seismic landsliding after the 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha earthquake, Nepal. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 126(3), Article e2020JF005803.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 30, 2021
Online Publication Date Feb 9, 2021
Publication Date Mar 18, 2021
Deposit Date Feb 18, 2021
Publicly Available Date May 20, 2021
Journal Journal of geophysical research. Earth surface.
Print ISSN 2169-9011
Electronic ISSN 2169-9011
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 126
Issue 3
Article Number e2020JF005803


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Copyright Statement
© 2021. The Authors.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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