SRINAGAR: Geologists are carrying out a “microzonation” survey of Srinagar city to identify earthquake-prone zones. Professor Shakil A Romshoo, Head of Department of Earth Sciences, University of Kashmir, told Kashmir Reader that the microzonation of Srinagar city will be completed in three years.
“We have completed one year’s study of this project,” Prof Romshoo said. “During the study we mapped 750 sq km of Srinagar city to make a detailed report. We studied the seismic vulnerability of residential buildings as well as of commercial and all other types of infrastructure.”
During the study, geologists assessed vulnerability to earthquakes of 4 lakh 50 thousand structures in Srinagar, Prof Romshoo said.
“This microzonation study will help us assess how an earthquake will impact different areas of Srinagar; how damaging it may be for the people and the infrastructure,” Prof Romshoo said. “This will help us formulate plans to minimise risks posed by earthquakes. This study will give almost accurate forecasting of which area will be affected more and which less.”
Besides Prof Romshoo, two members of the Earth Sciences department and three scientists from the C Max Institute in Bengaluru are involved in the study. C Max has already done the microzonation of Bengaluru city.
“After we study the urban infrastructure, we will integrate the findings with geo-technical and geological information, so that we can assess the seismic vulnerability of Srinagar,” Prof Romshoo said. “It will take two more years.”
According to the latest census, Srinagar city has a population of 1.1 million. According to geologists, Kashmir Zone falls in Seismic Zone 5, “extremely vulnerable” to “strong earthquakes”.
The October 8, 2005, Kashmir earthquake, which was recorded at 7.6 Richter scale, had its epicentre near the city of Muzaffarabad. It caused devastation across Kashmir, killing more than 70,000 people and demolishing infrastructure on both sides of the Line of Control.
“After completing the study, we will send the recommendations to the government,” Prof Romshoo said.
Seismic microzonation is the technical term of subdividing a potential seismic or earthquake-prone area into zones with respect to geological and geophysical characteristics of the sites, such as ground shaking, liquefaction susceptibility, landslide and rock fall hazard, earthquake-related flooding, among others.