J&K: Tracer studies begin to find out path of water entering Anantnag sinkhole

Published on Feb 21, 2022 03:02 AM IST

Anantnag DC Piyush Singla said the study might also throw light over the source of springs in the region besides the underground topography

A massive sinkhole had developed on February 11 in Anantnag’s Brengi stream, a tributary of Jhelum river, and has been swallowing gallons of water. (HT Photo)
A massive sinkhole had developed on February 11 in Anantnag’s Brengi stream, a tributary of Jhelum river, and has been swallowing gallons of water. (HT Photo)
ByAshiq Hussain, Srinagar

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has started tracer studies with the help of experts from National Institute of Technology (NIT), Srinagar, after a massive sinkhole developed on February 11 in Anantnag’s Brengi stream, a tributary of Jhelum river, and has been swallowing gallons of water.

The studies will primarily try to find out the path of the water going into the sinkhole.

Anantnag DC Piyush Singla said the study might also throw light over the source of springs in the region besides the underground topography. “We are conducting advanced tracer studies. This may throw light on the epochal underground KARST topography. Interesting findings like source of springs may be on the offering,” Singla said in a social media post.

The sinkhole at Wandeval village in Anantnag has dried out the Jhelum’s Brengi tributary downstream for many kilometers, wiping out a generation of indigenous fishes or hatchlings along the stretch.

Although the district authorities had tried to divert the water ahead of the sinkhole, the seepage developed again. The administration had asked experts from University of Kashmir, NIT Srinagar and department of geology and mining to understand the phenomenon and suggest measures.

Kokernag SDM Sarib Sehran said the experts from Kashmir University and NIT suggested tracer studies to find out where the water was going after entering the sinkhole. He said a six- member team from NIT Srinagar has started the study from Saturday and is being facilitated by revenue and irrigation and flood control departments.

He said they will also simultaneously fill the sinkhole with suggestions from the NIT team and the process should not take more than a week. “We have some 6-7 days till the water will start rising (as the spring sets in and snow starts melting). The team will also help us in an approximate design as to how we will fill it up. It should remain stable. They will suggest us the grading along with our flood control department to fill this up,” he added.

Ghulam Jeelani, professor and head of department of earth and environmental sciences, University of Kashmir, who was a part of the initial group, said he suggested the tracer study and also geophysical studies in his report.

Talking to HT last week, he said the sinkhole is an expression of an underground network of caves. “Anantnag, as the name suggests, means numerous springs and their discharge often is high in Achabal, Andarnag , Martand and Verinag. It means there is a lot of storage inside in the form of caves which take millions of years to form,” he added.

“South Kashmir requires mapping of this underground cavern system. Today, it happened in the stream; tomorrow it can happen in the built up area. It can be done using foreign collaboration by conducting cave diving and geophysical surveys,” he said.

Sehran acknowledged that the experts also suggested long-term studies. “They have suggested more studies, but those will take time as they will have to be entire south-Kashmir based. That is a long-term thing,” he added.

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