IIT-GN, CIT to develop early quake warning system

The project is expected to be of immense help to first responders (first teams to respond) during a calamity.

Ahmedabad: Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar(IIT-GN) have undertaken a project to develop a "slight early" earthquake warning system.

The institute has teamed up with California Institute of Technology (CIT), Pasadena, USA, to develop a system having dense network of low-cost motion sensors capable of sensing earthquake`s early seismic activity.

"Goal of our project is to put in place a network of
small devices called accelerometers near an active fault line
which can pick up earth vibrations. They can be standalone
devices transmitting data to a central server," Prof Girish
Singhal, project incharge at IIT-GN told a news agency.

"A mesh of very low-cost sensors in that area shall be
able to pick up velocity of shock waves, issuing slight early
alerts of an earthquake," Singhal claimed.

The project is expected to be of immense help to first
responders (first teams to respond) during a calamity.

According to estimate of experts, an earthquake in
Bhuj will take few minutes to reach Ahmedabad and an early
warning system in place could help in issuing alerts to shut
down big machines here, which are potential major source of
secondary losses in the event of any seismic activity.

Singhal, along with two final year B.Tech students, is
working on this project at IIT-GN.

"One of the students, Prathmesh Juvatkar, visited CIT
as part of this project on building a community seismic
network. He has brought four sensors along with him for this
pilot project," Singhal said.

"I went to CIT, Pasadena, USA and my project was on
building a Community Seismic Network," Juvatkar, a third-year
Electrical Engineering student at IIT-GN said.

"My project was to develop a private network of
portable low-cost devices that consume minimal resources and
can send the seismic data to a central server," he said.

A large number of such private networks will ensure
sufficient amount of data available for the detection of
earthquakes with higher accuracy, Juvatkar added.

"For building a system capable of early detection of
seismic activity, we need high density arrays of spatially
distributed motion sensors," he said.

He stressed that the losses due to tremors can be
greatly reduced if early warnings can be issued or at least
early seismic activity is detected, Juvatkar claimed.

The sensors brought from the US are currently
installed at a IIT-GN laboratory and further research is

"Our next target shall be to install network of 6-10
sensors in Bhuj near an active fault line over the next few
months, which shall be connected to a computer," he said.

The project is expected to receive grants soon from
the Government of India and the USA-based National Science
Foundation for scaling up the research project.

A devastating quake in Gujarat on January 26, 2001 had
killed around 20,000 people, with Bhuj, which is situated only
20 kms away from its epicentre bore the worst brunt of the


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