Project

Back to overview

GANSSER: Geodynamics And Seismic Structure of the Eastern-Himalaya Region

Applicant Hetényi György
Number 143467
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Schweizerischer Erdbebendienst ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Geophysics
Start/End 01.11.2012 - 31.08.2016
Approved amount 261'969.00
Show all

All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Geophysics
Other disciplines of Earth Sciences

Keywords (9)

geophysics; Himalaya; lithosphere; seismology; geodynamics; continental collision; earthquake; crust; Bhutan

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

Bhutan, a kingdom in the Eastern Himalayas, is living in self-imposed isolation: in order to preserve local culture, traditions and the environment, foreigners can enter in groups and in limited number only. Consequently, our geoscientific knowledge is very limited compared to other parts of the orogen. The first geological map was compiled in 1983 by the famous Swiss geologist Augusto Gansser. From a geophysical perspective, Bhutan is almost a blank spot: only very limited information exists on seismicity which shows a lower level of earthquake activity compared to other parts of the Himalayas, and there is knowledge neither of the structure nor of the physical properties of the crust and the lithosphere. Illuminating the deep structure of Bhutan and comparing it with the much better known Central Himalayas of Nepal is highly relevant both for evaluating the earthquake hazard and for improving our geodynamic picture of this classical collisional orogen.

 

In this project will conduct a temporary seismic experiment in Bhutan. Two densely spaced profiles across the orogen will allow us to produce the first, direct and high quality images of the structure of the lithosphere in the Eastern Himalayas, as well as give an insight into lateral variations along the mountain belt. Together with further stations that we will deploy throughout the country, our network will provide reliable information on seismicity in Bhutan and establish the first seismic velocity model of the crust. Furthermore, we will apply ambient noise tomography to map the physical properties of the lithosphere. The results will be interpreted jointly with gravity data (which we have already acquired) to build physical models of the Eastern Himalayas as well as to draw conclusions on its geodynamics. Especially, seismotectonic studies that we plan to conduct by comparing different segments of the Himalayas may shed light on the origin of the apparent seismic gap in Bhutan.

 

Augusto Gansser, “Geology Father of the Himalayas” and first geological mapmaker of Bhutan, has passed away earlier this year (2012), at the age of 101. We would like to dedicate this experiment to his memory.

 

More information about the project is available on: http://www.seismo.ethz.ch/research/groups/alrt/projects/gansser/index 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Seismotectonics of Bhutan: Evidence for segmentation of the Eastern Himalayas and link to foreland deformation
Diehl Tobias, Singer Julia, Hetényi György, Grujic Djordje, Clinton John, Giardini Domenico, Kissling Edi (2017), Seismotectonics of Bhutan: Evidence for segmentation of the Eastern Himalayas and link to foreland deformation, in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 471, 54-64.
Along-strike variations in the Himalayan orogenic wedge structure in Bhutan from ambient seismic noise tomography
Singer Julia, Obermann Anne, Kissling Eduard, Fang Hongjian, Hetényi György, Grujic Djordje (2017), Along-strike variations in the Himalayan orogenic wedge structure in Bhutan from ambient seismic noise tomography, in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 18(4), 1483-1498.
The underthrusting Indian crust and its role in collision dynamics of the Eastern Himalaya in Bhutan: Insights from receiver function imaging
Singer J., Kissling E., Diehl T., Hetényi G. (2017), The underthrusting Indian crust and its role in collision dynamics of the Eastern Himalaya in Bhutan: Insights from receiver function imaging, in Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 122(2), 1152-1178.

Datasets

GANSSER broadband seismic experiment in Bhutan

Author Hetényi, György
Publication date 02.12.2017
Persistent Identifier (PID) http://data.datacite.org/10.12686/sed/networks/xa
Repository http://data.datacite.org/10.12686/sed/networks/xa
Abstract
Temporary deployment - GANSSER Swiss broadband seismic experiment in Bhutan. The project: Geodynamics ANd Seismic Structure of the Eastern-Himalaya Region (GANSSER) aims at studying the seismotectonics, as well as the structure and physical properties of the lithosphere in the Eastern Himalayas, mainly by means of receiver functions and tomographic methods.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Department of Geology and Mines, Thimphu Bhutan (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Géosciences Montpellier France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
31st Himalaya-Karakoram-Tibet Workshop Talk given at a conference The Seismic Gap of Bhutan: Evidence for Segmentation of the Himalayas and its Link to Foreland Deformation 10.05.2016 Aussois, France Kissling Eduard; Hetényi György; Singer Julia; Diehl Tobias;
31st Himalaya-Karakoram-Tibet Workshop Poster Imaging seismic velocity variations of the Himalayan crustal collision structure beneath Bhutan with ambient noise cross-correlations 10.05.2016 Aussois, France Hetényi György; Kissling Eduard; Singer Julia; Diehl Tobias;
31st Himalaya-Karakoram-Tibet Workshop Talk given at a conference Deformation partitioning between the Bhutan Himalaya and the Shillong Plateau 10.05.2016 Aussois, France Hetényi György;
AGU Fall Meeting Poster Evidence for Along-Strike Variations in the Crustal Deformation beneath the Bhutan Himalaya from Receiver Function Imaging and Seismicity 14.12.2015 San Francisco, United States of America Singer Julia; Diehl Tobias; Kissling Eduard; Hetényi György;
AGU Fall Meeting Poster How a Country-Wide Seismological Network Can Improve Understanding of Seismicity and Seismic Hazard – The Example of Bhutan 14.12.2015 San Francisco, United States of America Hetényi György; Singer Julia; Kissling Eduard; Diehl Tobias;
AGU Fall Meeting Poster Along-Strike Differences of the Main Himalayan Thrust and Deformation within the Indian Crust: Insights from Seismicity and Seismic Velocities in Bhutan and its Foreland 14.12.2015 San Francisco, United States of America Hetényi György; Diehl Tobias; Kissling Eduard; Singer Julia;
41. Sitzung der AG Seismologie Talk given at a conference Along-Strike Differences of the Main Himalayan Thrust and Deformation within the Indian Crust: Insights from Seismicity in Bhutan and its Foreland 15.09.2015 Wildbad-Kreuth, Germany Singer Julia; Hetényi György; Diehl Tobias; Kissling Eduard;
IUGG 26th General Assembly Talk given at a conference Inferring seismicity and crustal structure by applying state-of-the-art seismic network analysis to a temporary array in Bhutan 26.06.2015 Prague, Czech Republic Singer Julia; Diehl Tobias; Hetényi György; Kissling Eduard;
Passive Imaging and monitoring in wave physics: from seismology to ultrasound summer school Talk given at a conference Imaging the Himalayan orogenic wedge beneath Bhutan with ambient seismic noise 11.05.2015 Cargèse, France Singer Julia; Diehl Tobias; Hetényi György; Kissling Eduard;
SED seminar series Individual talk Geodynamics and Seismic Structure of the Eastern-Himalaya Region – Project motivation and results so far 03.03.2015 Zürich, Switzerland Diehl Tobias; Hetényi György; Singer Julia;
AGU Fall Meeting Talk given at a conference Structure of the Orogenic Wedge in the Bhutan Himalaya: First Results from the GANSSER Seismic Experiment 15.12.2014 San Francisco, United States of America Hetényi György; Singer Julia; Kissling Eduard; Diehl Tobias;
AGU Fall Meeting Talk given at a conference Seismicity and Seismotectonics in the Himalaya of Bhutan: Insights from the GANSSER Seismic Network 15.12.2014 San Francisco, United States of America Hetényi György; Kissling Eduard; Singer Julia; Diehl Tobias;
29th Himalaya-Karakoram-Tibet Workshop Poster Towards a high-resolution seismic image of the lithospheric structure of the Himalayan orogenic wedge beneath Bhutan 02.09.2014 Lucca, Italy Diehl Tobias; Hetényi György; Kissling Eduard; Singer Julia;
29th Himalaya-Karakoram-Tibet Workshop Talk given at a conference Crustal structure, seismicity and landslide activity in Bhutan – preliminary results from a temporary seismological network 02.09.2014 Lucca, Italy Singer Julia; Kissling Eduard; Diehl Tobias; Hetényi György;
AGU Fall Meeting Poster The GANSSER seismological network in Bhutan 09.12.2013 San Francisco, United States of America Husen Stephan; Diehl Tobias; Kissling Eduard; Hetényi György; Singer Julia;
28th Himalaya-Karakoram-Tibet Workshop Poster The GANSSER seismological network in Bhutan 22.08.2013 Tübingen, Germany Husen Stephan; Diehl Tobias; Singer Julia; Hetényi György; Kissling Eduard;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
General Assembly of the Society Switzerland-Bhutan Talk 12.03.2016 Zürich, Switzerland Hetényi György;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Bhutan Earthquake Opens Doors to Geophysical Studies EOS International 2018
Media relations: print media, online media Mountains and earthquakes – Fieldwork and results of two geophysics project in Bhutan Newsletter of the Society Switzerland-Bhutan German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Earthquakes in Bhutan: past, present, future Kuensel International 2015
Media relations: print media, online media 38 seismic stations to record tremours Kuensel International 2013
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Erdbebensituation in Bhutan klären ETH Life German-speaking Switzerland 2013
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Mountains and earthquakes - On a seismology project in Bhutan Newsletter of the Society Switzerland-Bhutan International 2013
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Project description website International 2013
Media relations: print media, online media Schweizer Forscher nehmen Erdbebenlage in Bhutan unter due Lupe Schweizerische Depeschenagentur German-speaking Switzerland 2013
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Shedding light on the earthquake situation ETH Life German-speaking Switzerland 2013

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
157627 OROG3NY: structures and processes in 3D mountain building 01.12.2015 SNSF Professorships

Abstract

Bhutan, a kingdom in the Eastern Himalayas, is living in self-imposed isolation: in order to preserve local culture, traditions and the environment, foreigners can enter in groups and in limited number only. Consequently, our geoscientific knowledge is very limited compared to other parts of the orogen. The first geological map was compiled in 1983 by the famous Swiss geologist Augusto Gansser. From a geophysical perspective, Bhutan is almost a blank spot: only very limited information exists on seismicity which shows a lower level of earthquake activity compared to other parts of the Himalayas, and there is knowledge neither of the structure nor of the physical properties of the crust and the lithosphere. Illuminating the deep structure of Bhutan and comparing it with the much better known Central Himalayas of Nepal is highly relevant both for evaluating the earthquake hazard and for improving our geodynamic picture of this classical collisional orogen.In this proposal we intend to conduct a temporary seismic experiment in Bhutan. Two densely spaced profiles across the orogen will allow us to produce the first, direct and high quality images of the structure of the lithosphere in the Eastern Himalayas, as well as give an insight into lateral variations along the mountain belt. Together with further stations that we will deploy throughout the country, our network will provide reliable information on seismicity in Bhutan and establish the first seismic velocity model of the crust. Furthermore, we will apply ambient noise tomography to map the physical properties of the lithosphere. The results will be interpreted jointly with gravity data (which we have already acquired) to build physical models of the Eastern Himalayas as well as to draw conclusions on its geodynamics. Especially, seismotectonic studies that we plan to conduct by comparing different segments of the Himalayas may shed light on the origin of the apparent seismic gap in Bhutan.We will take advantage of our successful geophysical field experience in the Himalayas and our general experience in conducting fruitful passive seismic studies. Our modern broadband instruments are ready to be deployed in the field at no additional infrastructure costs. Our existing collaborations with researchers in Bhutan do not only guarantee smooth working conditions in the field but also mean a unique opportunity to work in Bhutan and entry free of charge (thus saving the 240 USD/day/person visa fees). The new seismic data will be analysed in the frame of two Ph.D. projects at ETH Zürich, tutored by experts in the methodologies to be applied.Augusto Gansser, “Geology Father of the Himalayas” and first geological mapmaker of Bhutan, has passed away earlier this year, at the age of 101. We would like to dedicate this experiment to his memory.
-