The performance of slender monuments during the 2015 Gorkha, Nepal, Earthquake

23 Mar 2018

This paper studies damage to a few specific monuments in the Kathmandu Valley that were either partially or completely destroyed during the 2015 Gorkha earthquake. Three of these structures—namely, the Basantapur Column, the Dharahara Tower, and the Narayan Temple—were modeled both analytically using rocking dynamics and computationally using discrete element modeling (DEM). The results emphasize the importance of large low frequency content within the ground motion, demonstrating that the Dharahara Tower could have collapsed due to the primary long-period ground motion pulse alone. In addition, comparison of analytical and computational modeling to the observed response enables evaluation of structural behavior, including discussion of the importance of elastic amplification and column embedment on performance during the earthquake.