Estimation of strain distribution using GPS measurements in the Kumaun region of Lesser Himalaya

M. Ponraj, S. Miura, C. D. Reddy, S. K. Prajapati, S. Amirtharaj, S. H. Mahajan

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44 Citations (Scopus)


The continuous process of continent-continent collision between the Indian and the Eurasian plates has led to the formation of the Himalayan range and continuously caused earthquakes in the region. Large earthquakes with magnitudes of 8 and above occur in this region infrequently, releasing the elastic strain accumulated over years around the plate boundary. Geodetic measurements can help estimate the strain distribution along the fault system. These measurements provide information on active deformations and associated potential seismic hazards along the Himalayan arc. In order to understand the present deformation around the plate boundary, we collected GPS data during three campaigns in the years of 2005-2007 at 16 sites in the Kumaun region of the Lesser Himalaya. Horizontal velocity vectors estimated in ITRF2000 are found to be in the range of 41-50. mm/yr with an uncertainty level of the order of 1. mm/yr. The velocity field indicates that the present convergence of around 15. mm/yr takes place in the Kumaun Himalaya. Further, we estimate the strain components in the study area for understanding the currently active tectonic process in the region. The estimated dilatational strain indicates that the northern part near the Main Central Thrust (MCT) is more compressional than the southern part. Maximum shear strain is mostly accommodated in the northern part too. The maximum shear and dilatational strain rates are about 1.0 and 0.5μstrain/yr. It is seen that the distribution of high shear strain spatially correlates with seismicity. The maximum of extensional and compressional strains due to the force acting along the Main Central Thrust (MCT) in the NW-SE direction are found to be 0.4 and 0.1μstrain/yr, respectively. The maximum shear strain in the northern part of the Himalaya appears to be associated with the convergence of the region proposed by other geophysical studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)658-667
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Asian Earth Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Nov 9


  • Convergence
  • Deformation
  • GPS
  • Lesser Himalaya
  • Strain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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