Chandigarh: With the National Capital Region falling in the high-risk zone for seismic activity, the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) here has developed an earthquake early warning system for the Delhi Metro.
The system involves interconnected sensors installed at five strategic places along its vast network that would continuously monitor seismic activity and send inputs to a master control centre for initiating appropriate activity.
Principal Scientist at CSIO, Dr Satish Kumar, who is heading the project said that sensors have already been installed at four places and work is under way at the fifth site. It will take about a year of trials and evaluation before the system is fully operational. The sites are at Jehangirpuri, Sarita Vihar, Botanical Garden, Dwarka and Metro Bhawan.
While earthquakes cannot be predicted, seismic tremors can be detected and can provide a few seconds of forewarning. “Seismic waves travel at the speed of 4 km per second. If the quake’s epicentre is some distance away, it can provide sufficient time to trigger certain preventive steps like automatic cutting off of the electric supply if the strength of tremors crosses a predefined level. The probability of damage to a stationary train is much lower than to a running one,” Dr Kumar said.
Delhi Metro carries about 2.4 million passengers daily through 208 trains that run over a network of 193 km of track that runs both underground as well as on elevated structures. Expansion plans envision it to cover 413 km in the coming years.
Delhi and its surrounding region lies in Zone-4 of the seismic activity map – the second-highest risk-prone area among the five zones. Delhi is particularly vulnerable to a major earthquake as several seismic fault lines such as the Sohna fault line, Delhi-Haridwar ridge zone, Mahendragarh fault line, Moradabad fault line and Rajasthan boundary fault line run through this area.