Saturday, 3 March 2012

Earthquake prediction models: Early warning system developed by AP school teacher

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: A teacher in a tribal residential school in a
remote area in Khammam district has devised four working models that
could issue early warning about an impending earthquake. Early warning
for earthquakes helps in saving human life and damage to property
through fire triggered by burning ovens in kitchens and short circuit
in electrical appliances.

Mr K Mallikarjuna Rao, a teacher in Andhra Pradesh Tribal Welfare
Residential School at Kinnerasani dam site in the forest area of
Khammam district, won a national award at the recent National Teachers
Science Congress. His innovative early warning systems for earthquake
were also selected for presentation at the 99th Indian Science
Congress last month.

“Earthquake triggers seismic waves and these waves can be recorded a
few moments before we feel the physical shaking. If we could alert
people as soon as the seismic waves are felt, it leaves sufficient
time to switch off electrical appliances and put off ovens and stoves.
People can also come into the open before the ground starts shaking.
This will prevent loss to life and damage to property,” Mr
Mallikarjuna Rao said.

Mallikarjuna Rao’s earthquake early warning works on water waves,
magnetism, a dug up bore well and a glass beaker. The magnetism model
records the changes in the earth’s magnetic field due to an impending
earthquake. The bore well system triggers an alarm whenever there are
seismic disturbances inside the earth, while the water waves model
helps in recording the change in the wave pattern caused by an
earthquake.

The magnetic earthquake-warning model involves digging a large pit in
a room away from vehicular disturbances. A 12-inch bar magnet is
placed in the pit. A thick white paper is placed over the bar magnet.
Iron powder is poured on it. Once the magnetic lines are formed, they
are recorded and fed to a computer. The computer keeps an eye on the
magnetic lines and any change in them is recorded.

“Earth is an enormous magnet. The magnetic field of the earth is
disturbed during an earthquake. My model is quite simple and easy for
implementation even in remote areas,” he pointed out.

Mallikarjuna Rao has also come out with measures that would minimise
the loss to property during earthquakes. His suggestions include
digging holes deep into the earth touching the tectonic plates and
pumping water to covert the lava/magma inside into a solid substance.
This hard substance will stop the movement of tectonic places, thus
controlling the intensity of the earthquake.

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