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Home > Documents > Personal webpages > CATTIN Rodolphe > BHUTAN-NEPAL seismic coupling and mega-quakes along the Himalayan arc

BHUTAN-NEPAL seismic coupling and mega-quakes along the Himalayan arc

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Improvement of seismic hazard assessment is one of the most challenging issues of our time. Over the last few decades seismic risks to people and economic losses have dramatically increased due to the rapid pace of urbanisation and growing dense city populations.

Main objectives

Based on previous studies and our own work in Nepal and Bhutan we have decided to address this issue by studying lateral variations in seismic coupling along the Himalayan arc.
This project contribute to provide the first real 3D image of the state of stress along a continental thrust-fault system, which is a crucial step in improving seismic hazard assessment in the areas producing most of the largest earthquakes.

Our approach

We use extensive and detailed description of local loading (present-day convergence and seismicity rate, late Quaternary shortening rate, past seismic events) and crustal structural geometry (major faults, Moho depth, Indian plate flexure).
Our approach is clearly multi-disciplinary and aims at integrating deformation of the Himalayan arc over various spatial and temporal scales. Our methodology encompasses a large panel of up-to-date and innovative complementary techniques in gravity, seismology, geodesy, morpho-tectonics, paleo-seismology and thermo-mechanical numerical modelling.
Gathering a high level of expertise from national (Montpellier, Paris, Nancy, Chambéry-Grenoble) and international (Switzerland, UK, India, Nepal and Bhutan) co-operation, this project also contributes to the development of innovative methods.


Rodolphe Cattin
Université Montpellier, Géosciences Montpellier, UMR 5243, CC 60.
Place E. Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 5, France.
Phone +33 (0) 4 67 14 49 51 — Fax +33 (0) 4 67 14 36 42 — Email