Careers in Seismology
Natural Disasters, such as earthquakes and floods, have been causing untold miseries the world over. India is prone to destructions particularly caused by earthquakes and floods because of its geographical location. In fact, the Himalayan zone, stretching from Jammu & Kashmir to the North East, is one of the worst – hit seismic zones of the world, next only to the Pacific Ring of Fire.
The pictures of devastation caused by the earthquake in Jammu & Kashmir still appears as a nightmare in our collective memory. And devastations like this have made it apparent that the focus of disaster management must shift from relief and rescue to prevention.
The Government’s decision to set up a National Disaster Management. Authority and ensure the formation of similar authorities at the state level is a clear indication that in which direction the wind of change is blowing. This development at the highest level makes a career in Seismology ( scientific study of earthquakes and the movement of waves through the earth ) an interesting option and seismologists will play an important role in several spheres of activities, particularly in planning and development, both in the public and private sectors.
The rapid rate of urbanization means that many more qualified earth scientists would be needed to make our cities a safe place to live in. Sudden, and sometimes, catastrophic, movements on the earth’s surface generally result from the release of elastic strain energy that radiates seismic waves. Earthquakes typically result from the movement of faults, planar zones of deformation within the earth’s upper crust.
Seismology ( derived from the Greek word ‘seismos’ meaning “earthquake” and ‘logos’ meaning “word” ) is the scientific study of earthquakes and the movement of waves through the earth. The field also includes studies of variants such as sea quakes, volcanoes and plate – tectonics, and consequential phenomena, such as the dreaded tsunamis and their like.
Earthquakes ( and other earth movements ) produce different types of seismic waves. These waves travel through rock, and provide an effective way to “view” events and structures deep inside the earth. Seismology is the process of mapping subsurface features of the earth. It involves the scientific study of earthquakes and the movement of seismic waves through the earth.
It is basically a part of Geology or Geophysical Science. Seismologists strive to locate the source, nature and extent of seismic events. The data collected by them is used by various agencies engaged in disaster management, town planning, etc. Seismologies are going to play a major role in future, be it improving building byelaws of a particular city or building quake – proof structures. They will be required to identify the weak points in the damaging pattern of an earthquake so that they can be avoided in future.
It is also a reality that all structures in our cities can’t be pulled down and rebuilt incorporating sound seismic principles and therefore, we need to identify seismically unsafe areas and sub – areas. Buildings standing on unsafe areas can be identified and suitable precautionary steps can be taken. All this will only be possible if we have an adequate pool of qualified earth scientists.
Seismology Eligibility :
Since the field requires good knowledge of science, students aspiring to join it require a basic background in science, right from Class XI onwards. Students having a degree in geology and geophysics as well as those having a basic degree in Engineering can specialize in seismology. IIT Kharagpur, offers an M. Tech. Degree in computation seismology. Department of Earthquake Engineering, IIT Roorkee, Department of Geophysics, BHU ( Varanasi ), Wadia Institute of Himalyan Geology, Dehradun and the GIS Institute, Noida are other reliable names imparting knowledge in the field.
Seismology Courses :
Depending on their field of interest, seismologists can come from the following fields : Geology, Geophysics or Applied Mathematics. A University Undergraduate Degree is necessary, and Master’s studies or Doctoral Work are significant assets for more advanced research.
One has to study the causes of earthquakes, seismology, seismology of India, hazard analysis, dynamics of continuous media, response spectrum analysis, design strong motion, ground respond analysis, liquefaction, seismic slope stability, retaining wall system design, dynamic properties of soils, ground improvement systems, etc. Most students proceed to a research role in government, industry, or university. Employment prospects following the Course are excellent : students with such skills are in high demand.
Seismology Career Prospects :
Students can look for opportunities in areas such as groundwater management and oil exploration. There is also a lot of scope for research in this field in the public sector, industry and universities. There are institutions such as the National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad, and the IIT that offer good opportunities for research in the field. The Human Resource Ministry has launched recently a National Program on Earthquake Engineering Education in Technical Institutions to create a pool of qualified seismologists in the country.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development ( MHRD ), Government of India, has launched the National Program on Earthquake Engineering Education ( NPEEE ). Its aim is to build capacity in our technical institutions, particularly engineering colleges, in the subject of earthquake engineering. Several Short – Term Courses in the coming years are being planned all over the country to meet this objective.
The IISc, Bangalore, one of the resource institutions participating in the NPEEE, conducts a Short – Term Course for engineering college teachers. A career in seismology can be quite rewarding since predicting calamities before time can help save many lives and prevent unnecessary damages. It is a challenging job and will prove to be a success in the coming years.
Since Seismology is a multi – disciplinary field comprising geologists and professionals specializing in Computers, Physics, Electronics, Telecommunications, and Civil and Structural Engineering, it is open to a wide range of students with ample opportunities for career advancement and earning good remuneration.