Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Localized extension in megathrust hanging wall following great earthquakes in western Nepal
Authors: Riesner, Magali
Bollinger, Laurent
Hubbard, Judith
Guérin, Cyrielle
Lefèvre, Marthe
Vallage, Amaury
Basnet Shah, Chanda
Kandel, Thakur Prasad
Haines, Samuel
Sapkota, Soma Nath
Keywords: Science::Geology
Issue Date: 2021
Source: Riesner, M., Bollinger, L., Hubbard, J., Guérin, C., Lefèvre, M., Vallage, A., Basnet Shah, C., Kandel, T. P., Haines, S. & Sapkota, S. N. (2021). Localized extension in megathrust hanging wall following great earthquakes in western Nepal. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 21521-.
Journal: Scientific Reports 
Abstract: The largest (M8+) known earthquakes in the Himalaya have ruptured the upper locked section of the Main Himalayan Thrust zone, offsetting the ground surface along the Main Frontal Thrust at the range front. However, out-of-sequence active structures have received less attention. One of the most impressive examples of such faults is the active fault that generally follows the surface trace of the Main Boundary Thrust (MBT). This fault has generated a clear geomorphological signature of recent deformation in eastern and western Nepal, as well as further west in India. We focus on western Nepal, between the municipalities of Surkhet and Gorahi where this fault is well expressed. Although the fault system as a whole is accommodating contraction, across most of its length, this particular fault appears geomorphologically as a normal fault, indicating crustal extension in the hanging wall of the MHT. We focus this study on the reactivation of the MBT along the Surkhet-Gorahi segment of the surface trace of the newly named Reactivated Boundary Fault, which is ~ 120 km long. We first generate a high-resolution Digital Elevation Model from triplets of high-resolution Pleiades images and use this to map the fault scarp and its geomorphological lateral variation. For most of its length, normal motion slip is observed with a dip varying between 20° and 60° and a maximum cumulative vertical offset of 27 m. We then present evidence for recent normal faulting in a trench located in the village of Sukhetal. Radiocarbon dating of detrital charcoals sampled in the hanging wall of the fault, including the main colluvial wedge and overlying sedimentary layers, suggest that the last event occurred in the early sixteenth century. This period saw the devastating 1505 earthquake, which produced ~ 23 m of slip on the Main Frontal Thrust. Linked or not, the ruptures on the MFT and MBT happened within a short time period compared to the centuries of quiescence of the faults that followed. We suggest that episodic normal-sense activity of the MBT could be related to large earthquakes rupturing the MFT, given its proximity, the sense of motion, and the large distance that separates the MBT from the downdip end of the locked fault zone of the MHT fault system. We discuss these results and their implications for the frontal Himalayan thrust system.
ISSN: 2045-2322
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-00297-4
Rights: © 2021 The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:EOS Journal Articles

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
s41598-021-00297-4.pdf10.38 MBAdobe PDFThumbnail

Page view(s)

Updated on Jan 21, 2022


Updated on Jan 21, 2022

Google ScholarTM




Items in DR-NTU are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.