Sun. Dec 3rd, 2023
India’s National Centre for Seismology Expands Microzonation Project

The National Centre for Seismology (NCS) in India, located in New Delhi, is responsible for monitoring earthquakes and expanding its disaster preparedness efforts. With a network of 157 observatories, the NCS tracks every tremor and seismic activity in the country. In response to the Joshimath disaster in Uttarakhand, which displaced hundreds of people, the NCS has increased its microzonation studies to include cities in Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and northeastern states. The goal is to identify hazardous areas prone to earthquakes and create hazard maps that can assist policymakers and builders in constructing safe structures. Microzonation involves classifying areas based on their geological properties and assessing the seismic risk.

India is particularly susceptible to earthquakes due to its location on the edge of the Indian continental plate, which is moving towards the Eurasian plate. The NCS’s seismic hazard microzonation survey began in 2017 in New Delhi and has since expanded to cities like Chennai, Coimbatore, Bhubaneswar, and Mangaluru in phase one. Phase two includes surveys of eight cities, including Varanasi, Kanpur, and Patna.

While the NCS plays a crucial role in earthquake preparedness, its staff of less than 100 people and growing mandate present challenges. The NCS can provide advice on building construction and offer hazard maps, but the Bureau of Indian Standards is responsible for creating guidelines on earthquake-resistant buildings and construction codes. Despite these limitations, the NCS continues to monitor seismic activity and provide valuable information to ensure the safety of the population.