CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute team to study Joshimath’s geology

CSIR-NGRI has been conducting extensive research in the Uttarakhand region on seismic movement, landslides, glacial lakes outbursts and so on for some time

January 10, 2023 08:44 am | Updated January 11, 2023 02:32 am IST - HYDERABAD

Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on January 10, 2023.

Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on January 10, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) is sending a nine-member team led by senior principal scientist Anand K. Pandey to the Joshimath town in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand where several buildings have developed cracks with the ground sinking in the last few days much to the shock of the panic-stricken people.

The team will begin an extensive sub-surface mapping of the three-kilometre area of the affected town to understand the soil layers, rock structure and underground water flow. “Our heavy equipment will be leaving by road and in two days we will be reaching the site. We expect to complete the work in two weeks and submit a report to the government,” informed Dr. Pandey, in an exclusive interaction.

Also Read | A mountain reeling under human aggression

CSIR-NGRI has been conducting extensive research in the Uttarakhand region on seismic movement, landslides, glacial lakes outbursts and so on with sophisticated measuring devices placed in remote places for some time. Yet, the senior scientist does not want to hazard a guess on what could have triggered the current-sinking of houses and cracks developing in the structures.

“It has happened before but the number of houses and people affected now is more. We have to do a survey first and check if there is a water saturation in the area which has been formed into a flat land mostly from landslides. The town lies on a mountain slope in the higher Himalayas. There is no doubt there has been a lot of construction activity including high rises and major infrastructure projects but we cannot say this has led to the present situation,” he said.

Also Read | Joshimath declared landslide-subsidence zone

Among the tests, the NGRI team will be conducting will be sending a high voltage electricity burst into the soil with the help of generators. “It will send electric waves all around which can be observed by the recorders. The received signals will be modelled to make out the kind of soil and water present as we will get a 3D picture,” he said.

Ground penetrating radars and multi-channel assessment of seismic waves (MASW) will be used to study the bedrock in addition to the field survey of geology and ground cracks developed in the region for a comprehensive analysis, added the senior scientist.

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