Modelling of strong motion generation areas for a great earthquake in central seismic gap region of Himalayas using the modified semi-empirical approach

  • Sandeep
  • A Joshi
  • S K Sah
  • Parveen KumarEmail author
  • Sohan Lal
  • Kamal


Over the past decades, strong motion generation areas (SMGAs) have received significant attention in the modelling of high-frequency records. Herein, we propose the source model for a scenario earthquake (\(M_{\mathrm{w}}\) 8.5) in the central seismic gap region of Himalayas. On the rupture plane, three SMGAs have been identified. Further, SMGA parameters are evaluated using available empirical relations. The spatiotemporal distribution of aftershocks is utilised to locate these SMGAs on the rupture plane. Further, the modified semi-empirical technique (MSET) is used to simulate the strong motion records. It has been observed that the study area can expect peak ground acceleration of \({>}\hbox {100 cm/s}^{2}\) and its distribution is mainly affected by the location of nucleation point in the rupture plane. Furthermore, the estimated peak ground acceleration (PGA) values are comparable with the earlier studies in the region. This confirms the robustness of generated rupture model with three SMGAs and the reliability of MSET to simulate high-frequency records.


Central seismic gap semi-empirical SMGA 1991 Uttarkashi earthquake 



The authors are grateful to Dr Preeti for her valuable efforts to improve the quality of the paper. The authors sincerely acknowledge the editorial board and two anonymous reviewers for their critical review and constructive suggestions. The authors sincerely thank Kayal et al. (1995), USGS (, CMT Harvard (, Ministry of Earth Sciences (project reference no. MoES/P.O.(Seismo)/1(42)/2009) for using earthquake data. This work is an outcome of project reference no. ECR/2016/000737 supported by the Science and Engineering Research Board, DST, India. We gratefully acknowledge the Department of Geophysics, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi and Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, for providing basic facilities for this research work. The author AS is highly thankful to Prof N P Singh for his valuable suggestions to improve the quality of research work. The author PK sincerely acknowledges the Director, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun.


  1. Aki K 1967 Scaling law of seismic spectrum; J. Geophys. Res. 72 1217–1231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Araya R and Kiureghian A D 1988 Seismic hazard analysis, improved models, uncertainties and sensitivities; Report No. EERC-90/11, Earthquake Engineering Research Center, University of California, Berkeley, CA, 155p.Google Scholar
  3. Asano K and Iwata T 2012 Source model for strong ground motion generation in the frequency range 0.1–10 Hz during the 2011 Tohoku earthquake; Earth Planet. Space  64(12) 1111–1123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bhatia S C, Kumar M R and Gupta H K 1999 A probabilistic seismic hazard map of India and adjoining regions; Annalidi Geofisica  42 1153–1164.Google Scholar
  5. Boore D M 1983 Stochastic simulation of high frequency ground motion based on seismological models of radiated Spectra; Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am. 73 1865–1894.Google Scholar
  6. Bilham R 1995 Location and magnitude of the Nepal earthquake and its relation to the rupture zones of the contiguous great Himalayan earthquakes; Curr. Sci. 69 101–128.Google Scholar
  7. Bilham R, Gaur V K and Molnar P 2001 Himalayan seismic hazard; Science 293 1442–1444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brune J N 1970 Tectonic stress and spectra of seismic shear waves from earthquakes; J. Geophys. Res. 75 4997–5009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chopra S, Kumar V, Suthar A and Kumar P 2012 Modeling of strong ground motions for 1991 Uttarkashi, 1999 Chamoli earthquakes, and a hypothetical great earthquake in Garhwal–Kumaun Himalaya; Nat. Hazards 64 1141–1159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Irikura K and Kamae K 1994 Estimation of strong ground motion in broad-frequency band based on a seismic source scaling model and an Empirical Green’s function technique; Ann. Geofis. XXXVII 6 1721–1743.Google Scholar
  11. Irikura K and Miyake H 2011 Recipe for predicting strong ground motion from crustal earthquake scenarios; Pure Appl. Geophys. 168(1–2) 85–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Irikura K, Kagawa T and Sekiguchi H 1997 Revision of the empirical Green’s function method by Irikura, 1986, programme and abstracts; Zisin 2 B25.Google Scholar
  13. IS:1893 2002 Indian standard criteria for earthquake resistant design of structures; Bureau of Indian Standards, New Delhi.Google Scholar
  14. Joshi A 2001 Strong motion modeling of the source of the Chamoli earthquake of March 29, 1999 in the Garhwal Himalaya, India; J. Seismol. 5 499–518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Joshi A 2004 A simplified technique for simulating wide band strong ground motion for two recent Himalaya earthquakes; Pure Appl. Geophys. 161 1777–1805.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Joshi A and Midorikawa S 2004 A simplified method for simulation of strong ground motion using rupture model of the earthquake source; J. Seismol. 8 467–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Joshi A and Mohan K 2010 Expected peak ground acceleration in Uttarakhand Himalaya, India region from a deterministic hazard model; Nat. Hazards 52 299–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Joshi A and Patel R C 1997 Modelling of active lineaments for predicting a possible earthquake scenario around Dehradun, Garhwal Himalaya, India; Tectonophys. 283 289–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Joshi A, Sandeep A and Kamal 2014 Modeling of strong motion generation areas of the 2011 Tohoku, Japan earthquake using modified semi-empirical technique; Nat. Hazards 71 587–609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Joshi A, Kumar B, Sinvhal A and Sinvhal H 1999 Generation of synthetic accelerograms by modeling of rupture plane; J. Earthq. Tech. 36 43–60.Google Scholar
  21. Joshi A, Singh S and Giroti K 2001 The simulation of ground motions using envelope summations; Pure Appl. Geophys. 158 877–901.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Joshi A, Kumari P, Sharma M L, Ghosh A K, Agarwal M K and Ravikiran A 2012a A strong motion model of the 2004 great Sumatra earthquake: Simulation using a modified semi-empirical method; J. Earthq. Tsunami 6 1–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Joshi A, Kumari P, Singh S and Sharma M L 2012b Near-field and far-field simulation of accelerograms of Sikkim earthquake of September 18, 2011 using modified semi-empirical approach; Nat. Hazards 64 1029–1054.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Joshi A, Kuo C H, Dhibar P, Sandeep A, Sharma M L, Wen K L and Lin C M 2015 Simulation of the records of the 27th March 2013, Nantou Taiwan earthquake using modified semi-empirical approach; Nat. Hazards 78 995–1020.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kamae K and Kawabe H 2004 Source model composed of asperities for the 2003 Tokachi-oki, Japan, earthquake (M JMA \(= 8.0\)) estimated by the empirical Green’s function method; Earth Planets Space 56(3) 323–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kameda H and Sugito M 1978 Prediction of strong earthquake motions by evolutionary process model; In: Proceedings of the sixth Japan earthquake engineering symposium, pp. 41–48.Google Scholar
  27. Kanamori H and Anderson D L 1975 Theoretical basis of some empirical relations in seismology; Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am. 65 1073–1095.Google Scholar
  28. Kayal J 2014 Seismotectonics of the great and large earthquakes in Himalaya; Curr. Sci. 106(2) 188–197.Google Scholar
  29. Kayal J R, Ghosh B, Chakraborty P and Reena D 1995 Aftershock study of Uttarkashi earthquake of October 20, 1991 by a temporary micro earthquake network; Memoir Geol. Soc. India 30 25–41.Google Scholar
  30. Khattri K N 1987 Great earthquakes seismicity gaps and potential for earthquake disaster along the Himalaya plate boundary; Tectonophys. 138 79–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Khattri K N 1999 An evaluation of earthquakes hazard and risk in northern India; Him. Geol. 20 1–46.Google Scholar
  32. Khattri K N and Tyagi A K 1983 Seismicity patterns in the Himalayan plate boundary and identification of areas of high seismic potential; Tectonophys. 96 281–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kumar D, Teotia S S and Khattari K N 1997 The representation of attenuation characteristics of strong ground motion observed in the 1996 Dharamshala and 1991 Uttarkasshi earthquakes by available Empirical relations; Curr. Sci. 73 543–548.Google Scholar
  34. Kumar P, Joshi A, Sandeep, Ashvini K and Chadha R K 2015a Detailed attenuation characteristics of shear waves in Kumaon Himalaya, India using the inversion of strong motion data; Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am. 105 1836–1851.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kumar A, Sinvhal A, Joshi A, Kumar D, Sandeep and Kumar P 2015b Coda wave attenuation characteristics for Kumaon and Garhwal Himalaya, India; Nat. Hazards 75 1057–1074.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kurahashi S and Irikura K 2011 Source model for generating strong ground motion during the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku earthquake; Earth Planet. Space 63 571–576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Midorikawa S 1993 Semi empirical estimation of peak ground acceleration from large earthquakes; Tectonophys. 218 287–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Miyake H, Iwata T and Irikura K 1999 Strong ground motion simulation and source modeling of the Kagoshima-ken Hokuseibu earthquakes of March 26 (MJMA 6.5) and May 13 (MJMA 6.3), 1997, using empirical Green’s function method; Zisin 51 431–442 (in Japanese with English abstract).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Miyake H, Iwate T and Irikura K 2001 Estimation of rupture propagation direction and strong motion generation area from azimuth and distance dependence of source amplitude spectra; Geophys. Res. Lett. 28 2727–2730.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Miyake H, Iwate T and Irikura K 2003 Source characterization for broadband ground-motion simulation: Kinematic heterogeneous source model and strong motion generation area; Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am. 93 2531–2545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Miyahara M and Sasatani T 2004 Estimation of source process of the 1994 SanrikuHaruka-oki earthquake using empirical Green’s function method; Geophys. Bull. Hokkaido Univ. Sapporo. Japan 67 197–212.Google Scholar
  42. Mukhopadhyay B, Acharyya A and Dasgupta S 2011 Potential source zones for Himalayan earthquakes: Constraints from spatial–temporal clusters; Nat. Hazards 57 369–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nath S K, Shukla K and Vyas M 2008 Seismic hazard scenario and attenuation model of the Garhwal Himalaya using near-field synthesis from weak motion seismometry; J. Earth Syst. Sci. 117 649–670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ni J and Barazangi M 1984 Seismotectonics of the Himalayan collision zone: Geometry of the under thrusting Indian plate beneath the Himalaya; J. Geophys. Res. 89 1147–1163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sandeep, Joshi A, Kamal, Kumar P and Kumar A 2014a Effect of frequency dependent radiation pattern in simulation of high frequency ground motion of Tohoku earthquake using modified semi empirical method; Nat. Hazards 73 1499–1521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sandeep, Joshi A, Kamal, Kumar P and Kumari P 2014b Modeling of strong motion generation area of the Uttarkashi earthquake using modified semi-empirical approach; Nat. Hazards 73 2041–2066.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sandeep, Joshi A, Kamal, Kumar P, Kumar A and Dhibar P 2015 Modeling of strong motiongeneration areas of the Niigata, Japan, earthquake of 2007 using modified semi empiricaltechnique; Nat. Hazards 77 933–957.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sandeep A, Joshi A, Kumari P, Lal S, Vandana, Kumar P and Kamal 2017a Emergence of the semi-empirical technique of strong ground motion simulation: A review; J. Geol. Soc. India 89 719–722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sandeep, Joshi A, Sah S K, Kumar P, Lal S, Vandana, Kamal and Singh R S 2017b Source model estimation of the 2005 Kyushu earthquake, Japan using modified semi empirical technique; J. Asian Earth Sci. 147 240–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sandeep, Joshi A, Lal S, Kumar P, Sah S K, Vandana and Kamal 2017c Simulation of strong ground motion of the 2009 Bhutan earthquake using Modified Semi Empirical Technique. Pure Appl. Geophys. 174 4343–4356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Seeber L, Armbruster J G and Quittmeyer R C 1981 Seismicity and continental subduction in Himalayan arc. In: Hindu Kush, Himalaya: Geodynamic evolution Geodyn. Ser. 3 (eds) Gupta H K and Delany F M, Am. Geophys. Union, Washington, DC, pp. 215–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sharma M L and Bungum H 2006, New strong ground-motion spectral acceleration relations for the Himalayan region; In: Proceedings, first European conference on earthquake engineering and seismology (ECEES), Paper 1312,8.Google Scholar
  53. Sharma B, Chopra S, Sutar A K and Bansal B K 2013 Estimation of strong ground motion from a great earthquake mw 8.5 in central seismic gap region, Himalaya (India) using empirical Green’s function technique; Pure Appl. Geophys. 170 2127–2138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Srivastava H N, Verma M, Bansal B K and Sutar A K 2015 Discriminatory characteristics of seismic gaps in Himalaya; Geomatics, Nat. Hazards Risk 6(3) 224–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Suzuki W and Iwata T 2007 Source model of the 2005 Miyagi-Oki, Japan, earthquake estimated from broadband strong motions; Earth Planet. Space 59(11) 1155–1171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Takiguchi M, Asano K and Iwata T 2011 The comparison of source models of repeating subduction-zone earthquakes estimated using broadband strong motion records-1982 and 2008 Ibaraki-ken-oki M7 earthquakes; Zisin 63 223–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wells L D and Coppersmith K J 1994 New empirical relationships among magnitude, rupture length, rupture width, rupture area and surface displacement; Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am. 84 974–1002.Google Scholar
  58. Wyss M 1979 Estimating maximum expectable magnitude of earthquakes from fault dimensions; Geol. Soc. Am. 7(7) 336–340.Google Scholar
  59. Yu G, Khattri K N, Anderson J G, Brune J N and Zeng Y 1995 Strong ground motion from the Uttarkashi, Himalaya, India, earthquake: Comparison of observations with synthetics using the composite source model; Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am. 85 31–50.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandeep
    • 1
  • A Joshi
    • 2
  • S K Sah
    • 1
  • Parveen Kumar
    • 3
    Email author
  • Sohan Lal
    • 2
  • Kamal
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeophysicsBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesIndian Institute of Technology RoorkeeRoorkeeIndia
  3. 3.Wadia Institute of Himalayan GeologyDehradunIndia

Personalised recommendations