Civil and Environmental Engineering


Document Type


Date of this Version



Front. Built Environ. 3:11.


Copyright the authors.

Open access

doi: 10.3389/fbuil.2017.00011


Few studies have been conducted to systematically assess post-earthquake condition of structures using vibration measurements. This paper presents system identification and finite element (FE) modeling of an 18-story apartment building that was damaged during the 2015 Gorkha earthquake and its aftershocks in Nepal. In June 2015, a few months after the earthquake, the authors visited the building and recorded the building’s ambient acceleration response. The recorded data are analyzed, and the modal parameters of the structure are identified using an output-only system identification method. A linear FE model of the building is also developed to estimate numerically its dynamic properties. The identified modal parameters are compared to those of the model to identify possible shortcomings of the modeling and identification approaches. The identified natural frequencies and mode shapes for two of the three closely spaced vibration modes in the lower frequency range of interest (0.2–1.0 Hz) are in good agreement with the numerical model. The model is used to estimate the response of the building to the nearby recorded ground motion due to earthquake and the main aftershock. The maximum drift ratios are compared to the observed damage in the building and surface defects detected and quantified by the lidar scans as the research team performed a series of light detection and ranging (lidar) scans from interior of selected floors to document the damage patterns along the height of the building.