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22nd June 2022 (6 Topics)

Udhampur gets earthquake observatory


The government recently inaugurated a seismological observatory in Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir.


  • The National Centre for Seismology (NCS) in the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has initiated several new measures to upgrade and strengthen the infrastructural facilities.
  • They aim to provide better scientific inputs required for improving disaster mitigation and preparedness measures.
  • It has installed 152 permanent observatories throughout the country with and plans to install 100 more in the next five years.

Need for Earthquake Observatories:

  • The occurrence of an earthquake is a natural process, beyond human power. Hence, preventionis the only way.
  • Further, the Indian subcontinent is considered as one of the world's most disaster-prone areasin terms of earthquakeslandslides, floods, cyclones, and tsunamis.

Objective of the project

  • It is part of an effort titled Seismic Microzonation, which aims to generate vital geotechnical and seismological parameters for developing earthquake risk resilient building design codes for structures and infrastructures.
  • It has initiated actions for the setting up of an earthquake early warning system (EEWS) on a pilot basis for a small area in the Himalayas. 
  • It has a precise mandate of collecting, collating and integrating various data sets to provide site-specific risk maps as per user needs.

What are earthquake observatories?

  • eqServer is an automatic data management, real-time display and earthquake notification system. 
  • About the Earthquake management
  • Forecasting a probable timing, location, magnitude and other important features of a forthcoming seismic event is called earthquake prediction.
  • Various attempts have been made by seismologists and others to create effective systems for precise earthquake predictions, including the VAN method.
  • Seismological instruments can generate large amounts of data.
  • Systems for processing such data include:
    • CUSP (Caltech-USGS Seismic Processing)
    • RadExPro seismic software
    • SeisComP3

Significance of the region

  • Jammu and Kashmir is the westernmost extension of the Himalayas.
  • Udhampur district lies between the two major seismogenic faults, namely Main Frontal Thrust (MFT) and Main Boundary Thrust (MBT), which are among the potential factors for generating earthquakes in the J&K region.
  • The new seismological observatory will help further strengthen the region’s earthquake monitoring.

Earthquakes in India

  • The earthquake is characterized bysevere shaking of the ground and severe shaking of structures above the ground.
  • According to the National Disaster Management Authority, this happens due to the release of the transmitted pressure of moving lithospheric or crustal plates.
  • According to seismic zoning mapping, earthquake zones are divided on the basis of the estimation of the intensity of the earthquake.
  • India is divided into 4 zones: Zone 2, Zone 3, Zone 4, and Zone 5.
  • While Zone 2 is the least dangerous, Zone 5 is the most dangerous.
  • Nearly, 59% of India’s land area is under a moderate to severe seismic hazard warning, which means that India is prone to earthquakes of magnitude 7 and above.

Other earthquake observatories in India

  • Currently, India has only 115 earthquake observatories.
  • Some of them are:
  • National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), Hyderabad
  • Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), Dehradun
  • North East Institute of Science & Technology (NEIST), Jorhat

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