Seasonal variation in the deformation rate in NW Himalayan region

Abstract

We report GPS measurements of continuous observations from the multi-parametric geophysical observatory (MPGO) at Ghuttu, Garhwal Lesser Himalaya. Other than the evidence of secular motion depicting strain accumulation due to locking of the underneath seismically active detachment, measurements at Ghuttu show annual variation of ±4 mm on horizontal component. Such variations are more prominent in the north coordinate and do not directly correlate with the meteorological parameters such as variations in rainfall, water table, and atmospheric pressure measured at the MPGO observatory. These variations are also not the artefact of data processing and network. They correlate with the water load storage in the Ganga plains, with minimum in displacement coinciding with the maximum storage of water in Ganga plains immediately after the monsoon and vice versa. Such variations also appear to cause annual variation in the low-magnitude earthquake frequency in the Himalayan region, being relatively more in the winter period.

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Acknowledgments

DDK thanks Director, WIHG, Dehradun, for his continuous support in running the observatory. We appreciate very constructive comments from two anonymous reviewers. We thank Ministry of Earth Sciences, New Delhi, for financial support through a Project (MoES/P.O. (Seismo)/NPEP(15)/2009). Authors from NGRI acknowledge support from CSIR-ARiEES.

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Correspondence to D. D. Khandelwal.

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Khandelwal, D.D., Gahalaut, V., Kumar, N. et al. Seasonal variation in the deformation rate in NW Himalayan region. Nat Hazards 74, 1853–1861 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-014-1269-2

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Keywords

  • Himalaya
  • GPS
  • Crustal deformation
  • Strain accumulation
  • MPGO Ghuttu