On Wednesday, August 4, 2021, IIT Roorkee launched an Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) Mobile App called “Uttarakhand Bhookamp Alert”. The application is available in two versions, compatible with both Android and iOS platforms.
The project was sponsored by Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority (USDMA) since the Uttarakhand region is the most seismically active and prone to earthquakes. The Chief Minister of Uttarakhand launched this lifeguarding app on Wednesday, August 4, 2021, at 11 am. It is a path-breaking achievement for the institute as it is the country’s first application for notifying people about earthquake alerts.
The programme was initially launched as a pilot project only by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Govt. of India for the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. Given its success and the need of the region, the IITR’s EEW project proposal was further extended by Uttarakhand Government.
EEW is a real-time earthquake information system that can detect the onset of the earthquake and issue warnings before the significant tremors take hold of the state. The physical basis for an earthquake early warning system is the speed of the seismic waves, which propagate after the release of stress from faults movement. The strong ground shaking is caused by shear waves which travel at about half the speed of the primary waves and much slower than electromagnetic signals. The EEW system exploits this advantage.
Commenting on the launch, IIT Roorkee Director Prof Ajit K Chaturvedi said, ” I take immense pride in sharing that IITR has designed an Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) mobile app, for timely dissemination of the information regarding an earthquake occurrence in the neighbourhood and the expected time of arrival and intensity at the location to prevent any loss of life.
“The project had been specifically launched in tie-up with the Uttarakhand Government as the region is prone to seismic activities. As part of the project, sensors had been installed in the high terrains of the Garhwal and Kumaun region of the state. Seismic data stream in at the central server established in EEW System laboratory, CoEDMM, IIT Roorkee. High-speed telecommunication is used for data streaming, while high-performance computers quickly compute scenario projections.
“The central server processes the retrieved data continuously on 24 × 7 basis. The server issues the warning to the public as soon as it detects that an earthquake of magnitude greater than 5 has occurred in those areas where sensors are installed. Warning time varies with the distance of a location from epicenter of the earthquake.”