This paper documents and analyzes the seismic behavior of unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings that were damaged by the 2015 Gorkha earthquake in Nepal, and reports on the performance of palaces, giving an overview on the failures suffered by significant examples of these monumental buildings. Field reconnaissance was completed through both rapid, in-situ visual assessment and state-of-the-art procedures utilizing light detection and ranging (lidar) and virtual reality (VR) technologies. Both the visual and virtual assessments were compared for 20 structures and were generally consistent; however, the virtual assessment process enabled detection of damage that could not be captured or was difficult to distinguish in the field observations. Further, both in-plane and out-of-plane mechanisms were analyzed and attributed to specific structural deficiencies that usually characterize poorly detailed masonry buildings. Moreover, wall overturning was correlated with the peculiarities of the pseudo-accelerations and rocking response spectra of the earthquake.

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