Featured Research Civil Engineering

Paleo-Seismic and Paleo-Tsunami Investigations along South-Middle Andaman & Car Nicobar Islands towards Earthquake and Tsunami Hazard Assessment of A&N Islands

PI: Prof. Javed N Malik

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Tsunami word has been known since decades in Japanese literature (tsunami – the harbour wave). It is well established from various studies that such giant waves are generated by sudden disturbance of sea water column particularly by large magnitude subduction or seafloor earthquakes, submarine landslides, underwater volcanic eruption etc. Out of these causes mentioned above, the earthquake-induced tsunami has widespread affects. The most recent giant tsunamis were generated by 2004 Sumatra Andaman (Mw 9.3) and 2011 Tohuku (Mw 9.1) earthquakes. The region of Andaman and Nicobar Island (A&N) has a great potential to trigger mega-earthquakes similar to one experienced during 2004. These mega-earthquakes not only generate tsunamis, but also results into land-level change in the coastal areas (Figure 1 A & B). Till date a very little is known about the past earthquakes and associated tsunamis those occurred during recent historic past in A&N region. This major project has been sanctioned to undertake Earthquake & Tsunami studies in A&N Islands as a part of XII- five year plan (2012 -2017) emphasized on R & D in Tsunami & Tectonic related studies in the Indian Ocean Region.

Main Focus:

  • Identification of paleo-tsunami and paleo-earthquake (land-level change) signatures preserved in the shallow sub-surface sediment succession – to reconstruct the chronology of the historic/prehistoric tsunami events and to understand the recurrence of tsunamis/ large magnitude earthquakes in Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

  • Identification, mapping and dating of uplifted coastal terraces – for reconstructing the active tectonic history along Andaman Islands.

Earthquake hazard and risk assessment using above generated information and by tsunami modeling for A & N Islands and area adjoining the coastline in Indian Mainland.This information will be extremely helpful:

  • In having a complete data base of paleo-earthquake and associated paleo-tsunami events resulted by near field (occurring along A&N arc) and far field (occurring in Sumatra region) sources,

  • To understand their recurrence interval and nature of events,

  • Towards evaluating the hazard and risk posed not only to the vulnerable coastlines of A&N Islands but also to the coastline encircling the Indian Mainland as well as coastline of adjacent countries, and

  • Estimating the threat posed to existing nuclear power station and also to the upcoming stations if any in near future. Attempt will be made to show-case the ancient tsunami record at IITK.


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