Friday, 28 October 2011

Earthquake early warning system for India likely: India Meteorological Department working out the modalities

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: India Meteorological Department is planning to
introduce on test basis earthquake early warning system to alert
people about an impending disaster and to minimise loss to human life
and property.

According to Prof Walter Mooney, eminent seismologist from the US
Geological Survey, though earthquakes cannot be predicted, one can
predict their probability. However, an early warning can be issued
about an earthquake in a given area.

"Japan and Taiwan have already successfully tested earthquake early
warning system. The USA and Mexico too are going in for such a system.
In India, the India Meteorological Department has plans to introduce
on test basis earthquake early warning system," Prof Mooney said. Prof
Mooney is in the city to participate in the golden jubilee of the
National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI-CSIR).

The earthquake early warning system works on the principle of studying
the radio signals. Radio signals travel faster than the ground waves.
This leaves up 60 seconds time to issue an early warning and plan for
shutdown of nuclear reactors and electrical appliances and stoves in
homes and hotels, Prof Mooney said. Fire following a major earthquake
often causes heavy loss and early warning system helps in preventing
it to a large extent.

Asked if 60 seconds is not a short time to react, Prof Mooney said
Japan and Taiwan had successfully demonstrated that within this time
too measures can be taken to minimise the loss to human life and

Earthquake stations will be set up at different places and these
record the radio signals once the ground is about to shake. By picking
up the radio signals, early earthquake warning can be issued through
sms alerts and public sirens.

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