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IMD for New Delhi

As several ‘‘slight intensity’’ earthquakes hit Delhi last month, the met department has taken up a project to prepare a new set of earthquake vulnerability maps which could help in construction of buildings that can withstand such tremors.

‘‘Under the project, the department would make a detailed assessment of the potential risk due to an earthquake on a scale of as low as 100 meters through a detailed study of the land’s structure in the national capital,’’ director, Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Dr A.K. Shukla said.

The department would coordinate with various other agencies like Geological Survey of India (GSI), Central Groundwater Board, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), Central Road Research Institute(CRRI) and IIT-Delhi, to prepare the map making area-wise assessment of soil structure in the capital, he said.

Once the project is over, it would provide localised details of the soil strength, which could help assess the potential risk in case of an earthquake and help design the buildings which could minimise the damage, he said.

‘‘Having known the holding capacity of the land it would be easier for architects to suggest structure which are more scientific and quake-resistant,’’ he said. The knowledge about the soil composition would also help make the existing buildings quake-resistant in a more precise and scientific manner, Shukla said.

Depending on the holding capacity of the land in different areas a same intensity earthquake would have altogether different impact in two places, he said. At present the whole of Delhi falls under zone four, an area which is considered to be more prone to earthquakes, and factors such as low water table, soil composition and its density between the ground surface and bedrock on the crust of the earth, play a major role in its vulnerability, he said.

The zones were primarily been defined by keeping in view the potential risk in case of an earthquake, he said. Attributing the earthquake-prone nature of the national capital to the geographical ‘‘faults’’ in the neighbourhood of the city, he said ‘‘the Himalayas being not so far from the city also contribute in its vulnerability.’’

Depending on the success of the project in Delhi the project could be replicated in other parts of the country as well, Shukla added.