Earthquake Early Warning in Kathmandu (2022-2023)

In 2015, the Gorkha Earthquake Disaster in Nepal took the lives of 9,000 people. More than 22,000 people were injured, 3.5 million lost their homes and the economic loss of $10 billion represented half of Nepal’s annual GDP. 

Studies of the Gorkha earthquake warn that the redistribution of tectonic stress is now ratcheting the Main Himalayan Thrust zone toward another rupture that would surpass the 2015 disaster. Earthquake early warning is the only way to save human lives and prevent the devastation of Kathmandu communities.

Building on an existing collaboration between faculty at Duke and Tribhuvan University of Kathmandu and the work of a previous Bass Connections team, this project team conducted collaborative research on public policy, social science, data science and engineering to develop and operate a seismic sensing network to be used for earthquake early warning in Kathmandu. 

The Internet of Things subteam focused on engineering hardware to detect and measure the first movements of an earthquake. Meanwhile, the data science subteam worked on machine learning algorithms to help predict the magnitude of an earthquake from those initial shakes. The team also studied the social, cultural and behavioral factors that must be considered when determining how to distribute emergency warning messages.

Team members visited Nepal in March 2023 and collaborated closely on technology development and capacity building with colleagues at the Institute of Engineering at Tribhuvan University, the Nepal Society for Earthquake Technology, the Department of Disaster Management, and the Nepal Disaster Risk Mitigation and Management Agency.


Summer 2022 – Spring 2023

Team Outputs

Earthquake Early Warning in Kathmandu (Roxana Haas and Sabhyata Jha, lightning talk at Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Showcase, Duke University, April 19, 2023)

Kathmandu Geohazard Early Warning Research Symposium (Kathmandu, Nepal, March 14, 2023, in collaboration with Tribhuvan University Institute of Engineering)

Smart sensing network in Kathmandu, Nepal

This Team in the News

Finding Solutions Together

DKU Data Science Outstanding Senior: Sabhyata Jha

Faculty and Doctoral Student Pair Recognized for Excellence in Collaborative Leadership

“Nothing Short of a Revolution:” How the Internet of Things Is Shaping Accessible Tech

Meet Some of the Teams at the Bass Connections Showcase

Bass Connections Teams Share Research Highlights at 2023 Showcase

Senior Spotlight: Reflections from the Class of 2023

See related teams, Earthquake Early Warning in Kathmandu (2023-2024) and Earthquake Early Warning in Nepal: Technology, Behavioral Science and Policy (2020-2021), and Data+ summer project, Pilot Earthquake Early Warning in Kathmandu (2022).


Image: Courtesy of the Earthquake Early Warning project team

Early Warning.

Team Leaders

  • Henri Gavin, Pratt School of Engineering-Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Rachael Lau, Pratt–Civil and Environmental Engineering–Ph.D. Student

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Ceyda Alabacak, Computer Science (BS)
  • Trailokaya Bajgain, DKU Interdisciplinary Studies (BS)
  • Himani Bhat, Civil Engineering (BSE)
  • Luis Graterol, Civil Engineering (BSE)
  • Roxana Haas, Electrical & Computer Egr(BSE)
  • Phil He, Computer Science (BS)
  • Sabhyata Jha, DKU Interdisciplinary Studies (BS)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Peter Malin, Nicholas School of the Environment-Earth and Climate Sciences

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Bikash Timilsina, Tribhuvan University - Institute of Engineering
  • Kjitij Shrestha, Tribhuvan University–Institute of Engineering
  • Surya Shrestha, Nepal Society for Earthquake Technology
  • Khem Raj Shah, Tribhuvan University - Institute of Engineering
  • Anil Pokhrel, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority (NDRRMA) Nepal
  • Arpan Pandit, Tribhuvan University - Institute of Engineering
  • Nischal Nath Sigdel, Tribhuvan University - Institute of Engineering
  • Bharat Mandal, Tribhuvan University - Institute of Engineering
  • Shashwat Jha, Tribhuvan University - Institute of Engineering
  • Gokarna Bahadur Motra, Tribhuvan University–Institute of Engineering