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India is highly vulnerable to earthquakes, with more than 60% of the land being prone to tremors of Richter Intensity 7.0 and greater, that can cause structural damage. Earthquakes continue to cause large-scale human fatalities, most of which are due to collapse of man-made structures. Recent earthquakes have revealed the under-preparedness of the country in facing its impacts. Since short- or mid-term prediction of earthquakes is difficult, seismic safety of built environments that will ensure that structures do not collapse, forms an important cornerstone of earthquake disaster mitigation efforts.

Earthquake Engineering at IIT Bombay

IIT Bombay supports extensive research, development and outreach activities in the area of earthquake engineering. The Institute has several faculty members who collectively, cover all major areas in earthquake engineering including:
• Structural Earthquake Engineering
• Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering
• Seismology/Geology
• Remote Sensing

Some major research facilities setup through dedicated efforts by the faculty include: large and small shake tables, actuators for pseudodynamic tests, structure condition assessment systems, GPS equipment and an advanced Geotechnical centrifuge with proposed uniaxial earthquake simulator.

Well recognised both nationally and internationally, these R&D activities have resulted in a number of patent applications. The research in diverse aspects of earthquake engineering has allowed the application of expertise in a number of situations. They are:
• Development of National Codes and Standards together with Bureau of Indian Standards
• Assistance to the government in developing policies and regulations
• Intensive professional and continuing education programmes for college teachers and the industry
• Core participation in the National Programme on Earthquake Engineering Education (NPEEE) launched by the Ministry of Human Resources Development
• Training of government officers and UN volunteers to carry out rapid seismic vulnerability assessment buildings in earthquake-prone cities of India
• International collaborations with China, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Uzbekistan in urban risk management efforts
• Active collaboration in earthquake engineering with several German universities and Institutes

Gujarat Earthquake Rehabilitation Programme

IIT Bombay played a proactive role in providing technology support and expert advice for reconstruction and disaster mitigation following the Bhuj earthquake in January 2001. Advice was provided to Government of Gujarat as well as several multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. The Institute provided immediate support in the following areas:
• Rapid post earthquake reconnaissance to assess impact, and development of retrofitting techniques for damaged structures
• Evaluation of earthquake ground motions data, seismic hazard and vulnerability, and causes of damage
• Development of design guidelines for new constructions and evaluation of structural designs
• Training of government and private sector engineers in repairs and rehabilitation of damaged buildings
• Providing technical inputs to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank for framing their emergency loan packages
• Assisting the government of Gujarat with framing of rehabilitation policy of the state
• Preparation of re-development plan for the town of Anjar in Gujarat to ensure seismic safety as well as sustainable development
• Assisting in design and construction of earthquake memorial in Anjar in memory of the school children and their teachers who died during Republic Day parade

Mumbai Disaster Management

Research projects have been carried out for seismic risk assessment of Mumbai. These have estimated the extent of damage to life and property in the event of an earthquake, so that suitable disaster management strategies can be evolved. A United Nations sponsored project on Mumbai Disaster Management Plan resulted in the production of a 30-minute video film titled ‘Mumbai Disaster Management—Challenges and Opportunities’. It was made for training government officers (central, state and city) on disaster management and the specific issues concerning Mumbai.

CONTACT: Prof Ravi Sinha, Civil Engineering Dept (; Prof Alok Goyal, Civil Engineering Dept

The Indian Global Positioning System (GPS) Programme

IIT Bombay actively participates in the national programme on GPS for earthquake hazard assessment launched by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India after the Latur earthquake. DST funded projects have been taken up to study crustal deformation in the Koyna region of Maharashtra through extensive GPS networks. A permanent GPS station has also been set up at the Institute.

Facilities: A GPS laboratory has been set up in the Civil Engineering Dept with facilities like GPS receivers and GPS data processing software packages.

The GPS Network in Gujarat
The IIT Bombay team has established a GPS station network at 12 locations in the State of Gujarat for carrying out observations using geodectic dual-frequency GPS receivers. The stations monitor deformations of the epicentral region from an outside reference point, so as to assess future crustal movements in the region.

A Remote Sensing Approach to Seismic Studies
A team from the Centre of Studies in Resources Engineering (CSRE) have used a specialised tool known as Differential Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (D-InSAR) for remote sensing studies of the Bhuj (Gujarat) region. The Department of Science and Technology has constituted an Indian InSAR group, with CSRE as a node to co-ordinate its national level activities.