Microzonation studies in quake-prone zones
KEEPING IN view high seismic activities on the Indian plate and dangers of high magnitude earthquakes in future, Madhya Pradesh Council of Science and Technology (MAPCOST) has decided to initiate microzonation studies in high-risk zones (zone III) of the State.india Updated: Jan 02, 2006 13:15 IST
KEEPING IN view high seismic activities on the Indian plate and dangers of high magnitude earthquakes in future, Madhya Pradesh Council of Science and Technology (MAPCOST) has decided to initiate microzonation studies in high-risk zones (zone III) of the State. The studies will mainly include urban areas like Jabalpur, Indore, Khandwa, Burhanpur and others.
Seismic microzonation study — the first step to assess seismic hazard — is the process of estimating the likely seismic hazard on the surface of the earth due to a future scenario earthquake.
Speaking to the Hindustan Times, MAPCOST Director General Dr J G Negi said the threat of increasing seismic activities in Himalayan region can affect a lot of population in the Indo-Gangetic planes and it is important that all district collectors in the seismic zone III, IV and V (the high-risk) zones should have microzonation maps. Also, trained scientists with capabilities to understand the relevant aspects about earthquakes and seismicity should be available.
Presently, the Indian plate is seismically the most active and is continuously experiencing earthquakes during the last couple of years. There has been a great accumulation of seismic stress beneath the Himalayan region during the last few decades.
Recently, on October 8, an earthquake of magnitude 7.6 on the Richter scale was experienced in the Kashmir region and two months later another earthquake of magnitude 6.8 was experienced in Hindukush region of Afghanistan. Dr Negi, himself a seismologist of repute, said the energy released during these earthquakes is actually less than 10 per cent of the total overdue energy beneath the region.
Close observations suggest that the stress may get released through great earthquakes of magnitude even greater than 8.0 in near future, Dr Negi has warned.
After China and Japan, India is the third most seismically vulnerable country of the world, but the number of professionals in field of seismology is less than 100. The country still does not have a seismology policy or major seismological research activities of international standards, MAPCOST DG said.
The present knowledge does not allow prediction of earthquakes in terms of the location, time and magnitude of an earthquake to prepare against earthquake disaster in a better manner. Preparation of earthquake hazard map is an important aspect, which needs to be addressed.
The large number of deaths in India during earthquake happens primarily because of un-engineered buildings and lack of microzonation studies.
Dr Negi said the MAPCOST is involved in most-sophisticated remote sensing activities with 24-full time scientists and 16 cartographers. This is the largest team available for microzonation studies after the Department of Space and National Remote Sensing Agency and would soon take up the microzonation studies in the State.