Every day we hear about earthquakes being felt in different regions. The Indian subcontinent is an area at high risk for earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis and landslides. According to the seismic zoning mapping, India is divided into 4 zones. These areas are divided according to the estimate of the intensity of the earthquake. India is divided into Zone 2, Zone 3, Zone 4 and Zone 5. While Zone 2 is the least dangerous, Zone 5 is the most dangerous.
Earthquakes always bring destruction with them. The occurrence of an earthquake is a natural process, beyond human power. Therefore, prevention is the only way. In addition, the most important aspect is being able to accurately predict the time of the earthquake. This work is carried out by seismic observatories.
35 next seismic observatories in India
The Indian government has decided to increase the number of seismic observatories to create a dense network of observatories across the country. This would allow each region to prepare in advance for an earthquake.
Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh, Department of Science and Technology, said 35 seismic observatories will be set up in India by the end of this year. He added that over the next five years, 100 more such observatories would be built in the country by the central government.
Only 115 observatories currently
At present, there are only 115 observatories in the country. Addressing the inaugural function of the Joint Scientific Assembly of the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy (IAGA) – International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth’s Interior (IASPEI), the Minister of ‘Union Jitendra Singh said that in the last six and a half decades since independence, that is, in 65 years of history, there were only 115 seismic observatories in the country, but under Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there is now going to be a huge increase in the number of seismic observatories in the country.
How does an earthquake occur?
The earthquake is characterized by strong shaking of the ground and strong shaking of structures above the ground. According to the National Disaster Management Authority, this occurs due to the release of pressure transmitted by the moving lithospheric or crustal plates.
The earth’s crust is divided into 7 large plates 80 km thick. It moves slowly and steadily inside the Earth and over many smaller plates. Earthquakes are primarily tectonic, meaning that moving plates are primarily responsible for ground shaking.
Earthquakes in India
Major earthquakes occur around the Himalayas. Urbanization, widespread unscientific construction and exploitation of natural resources have led to an increase in the number of earthquakes in the Indian subcontinent.
In the past 15 years, the country has suffered 10 major earthquakes, which have claimed more than 20,000 lives and brought wealth to the country. According to the current map of the country’s seismic zone, 59% of India’s land area is subject to a moderate to severe earthquake hazard warning, which means India is prone to earthquakes of magnitude 7 and more.
In fact, the entire Himalayan region is considered favorable for large 8.0 magnitude earthquakes. There have been 4 such earthquakes in a relatively short period of 50 years, which have proven this point. A magnitude 8.7 earthquake struck Shillong in 1897, Kangra of magnitude 8.0 in 1905, magnitude 8.3 along the Bihar-Nepal border in 1934 and magnitude 8.6 on the Assam-Tibet border in 1950.
According to the National Disaster Management Authority, scientific publications have warned of the possibility of a powerful earthquake in the Himalayan region, which could harm the lives of millions of people in India.
The Northeast region is more vulnerable
The northeast region of the country continues to receive moderate to severe earthquakes at frequent intervals. There have been several light earthquakes in the region since 1950. On average, the region has been struck by one earthquake with a force of over 6.0 per year.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are also located on the interplaque border and are subject to frequent destructive earthquakes.
Role of the IAGA
Speaking at the event, Union Minister Dr Singh said that as a recognized science of the composition, structure and processes that govern our planet, it has probably reached its peak today as human society grapples with challenges at multiple levels of interactions with Mother Earth. . IAGA and IASPEI will move the country forward.
The minister expressed the hope that the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy (IAGA) – the joint scientific assembly of the International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth’s Interior (IASPEI) will play the role as a catalyst by bringing together more researchers and practitioners from the global community to work on issues related to the dissemination of science in society.
He said it is a conducive environment for the two scientific communities to come together to advance research in their niche and pursue new avenues of interdisciplinary investigations. The Minister added that the link between the structure of the deep earth and geomagnetism, and the role of fluids in the nucleation of earthquakes are some examples to underline the importance of the Joint Scientific Assembly of these two associations to promote interdisciplinary research.
IAGA and IASPEI will jointly organize a joint meeting in 2021, which will be organized by CSIR-NGRI in collaboration with the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India. Both institutions are expected to take the country to higher heights in this area.