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

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

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Ashutosh Kumar

Vasilis Sarhosis

Sean Wilkinson

Kosh Prasad Acharya

Annie Joshi

Ram Bahadur Kunwar

Prem Nath Maskey


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.


Kumar, A., Hughes, P. N., Sarhosis, V., Toll, D., Wilkinson, S., Coningham, R., …Maskey, P. N. (2020). Experimental, numerical and field study investigating a heritage structure collapse after the 2015 Gorkha earthquake. Natural Hazards, 101(1), 231-253.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 1, 2020
Online Publication Date Feb 12, 2020
Publication Date Mar 31, 2020
Deposit Date Feb 26, 2020
Publicly Available Date Feb 26, 2020
Journal Natural Hazards
Print ISSN 0921-030X
Electronic ISSN 1573-0840
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 101
Issue 1
Pages 231-253


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