Spatial distribution of earthquake potential along the Himalayan arc

Yogendra Sharma, Sumanta Pasari, Kuo En Ching, Onkar Dikshit, Teruyuki Kato, Javed N. Malik, Chung Pai Chang, Jiun Yee Yen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


To determine the spatial distribution of earthquake potential along the active Himalayan arc, we utilize GPS measurements and earthquake data. We derive horizontal velocity field and 2-D strain rates from a new set of 41 regional GPS stations along with 446 published velocities. We convert these strain rate tensors to geodetic moment rate build-up within 24 contiguous segments and compare to the seismic moment rate release derived from a reassessed earthquake catalog of 900 years. The geodetic to seismic moment rate ratio, an indicator of stored strain energy, varies from below unity to more than 50 in different segments. The estimated geodetic moment rate ranges from 1.7 × 1018 Nm/yr to 10.2 × 1018 Nm/yr, whereas the seismic moment rate ranges from 3.7 × 1016 Nm/yr to 5.1 × 1019 Nm/yr. This variation between the geodetic and seismic moment rate corresponds to a moment deficit rate of ~1.15×1017 Nm/yr to 7.97 × 1018 Nm/yr along various segments of the study region. The above moment deficit rate provides an equivalent earthquake potential of magnitude 5.7 − 8.2 in different segments. Specifically, the higher earthquake potential (Mw≥8.0) corresponds to the segments in the central seismic gap and the northeast part of Himalaya, whereas the lower earthquake potential (Mw<7.0) corresponds to the segments encompassing the rupture areas of recent large events. The present findings not only provide input constraints on the contemporary crustal deformation but also contributes to the time-dependent seismic hazard analysis along the Himalaya.

Original languageEnglish
Article number228556
StatePublished - 20 Sep 2020


  • Earthquake potential
  • Geodetic strain rate
  • GPS velocity
  • Himalaya
  • Moment deficit rate


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