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Media Advisory 15-017

Will there be another quake in Nepal? Scientists present insights at upcoming conference

Annual Geological Society of America meeting features NSF-supported earthquake research

Nepal houses damaged by earthquake

NSF-funded scientists are working to find new answers to questions about the Nepal earthquake.

October 16, 2015

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Will there be another earthquake in Nepal?

Geoscientists funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) are studying the devastating earthquake of April 25, as well as past Nepal earthquakes, to discover what might happen in the area's seismic future. Between 1833 and 1936, at least five major earthquakes occurred in the region.

The researchers will report their results at a special session of the Geological Society of America's annual meeting in Baltimore, Maryland. (See the meeting's oral session, abstracts and poster session schedule.)

The goals of the special session are to provide a forum for scientists studying the earthquake, and to develop paths forward for earthquake forecasting in the Himalayan region to minimize the effects of large-scale earthquakes.

For example, NSF grantees Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana and Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado, Boulder--who will present talk 105-6--are measuring post-seismic displacements. Their work involves installing arrays of GPS units along the 21-mile expanse between Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, and the country's southern border to gain new insights into the region's tectonics.

The investigators are placing GPS arrays on stable monuments, with instrument spacing as close as 3 miles.

Bendick and Bilham will use new data to calibrate historical intensity information from Nepal earthquakes in 1833, 1835, 1866, 1934 and 1936. The results will help estimate rupture areas in these events and how they relate to the 2015 earthquake.

Who: NSF-supported geoscientists
What: Geological Society of America annual meeting
Where: Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland
When: Nov. 1-4, 2015; Nepal session: Nov. 2, 2015


Media Contacts
Cheryl Dybas, NSF, (703) 292-7734, email:
Christa Stratton, GSA, (303) 357-1093, email:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, its budget is $7.8 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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