CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) will be using heli-borne geophysical mapping technique to cover about 4 lakh sq km of arid regions north western India to take up high resolution aquifer mapping and management to augment the groundwater resources.
The institute has been contracted by the Union Water Resources Ministry to take up the project in in two phases — from the foothills of the Himalayas to Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat till the Rann of Kutch, to provide a high resolution 3D image of the sub-surface up to a depth of 500 meters below the ground.
It is also developing a new drone in association with other CSIR labs for taking up drone based electro-magnetic system for conducting aeriel geo-mapping with the first prototype instrument ready for testing, said Director V.M. Tiwari on Wednesday.
“We are also going to take up drone-based magnetic measurement of the Ladakh region since ground-based geothermal surface measurements is not possible. Whether it is 10 metres or 100 metres, remote sensing is going to play a big role and we need to strengthen our capacity to tap natural resources in an environmental friendly manner,” he said.
Dr. Tiwari was participating in a webinar organised by CSIR on ‘Airborne Geophysics: Fast-tracking exploration of mineral and groundwater resources in India’ as part of the 75 years celebrations of the country’s independence.
The director listed out the several successful projects done using airborne or heli-borne survey like helping Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) complete a 126-km work on 16 tunnels in Rishikesh, check for survivors in the recent Himalayan landslide at the Chamoli region to map the tunnel within 48 hours, helping Atomic Minerals Directorate (AMD) explore for uranium and other minerals, etc.
NGRI chief scientist Ajay Mangalik traced the evolution of the airborne geophysics which began from a Dakota fixed wing aircraft in the ’70s to heli-borne surveys with spectrometers inside and sensors hanging beneath to check for rock, radioactive elements, oil, gasm bedrocks, faults, acquifers, etc.
AMD additional director R. Mamallan recalled the 50-year association with NGRI and said while the first phase of 1.25 lakh flying km of airborne survey has been completed for heavy metals exploration, another 1.25 lakh flying km is under way, of which 30,000 km was done and another 90,000 km is to be completed in four years.