V K Gahalaut

Ministry of Earth Sciences, New Delhi

Vineet Kumar Gahalaut is the Director of National Centre for Seismology (NCS), Ministry of Earth Sciences, New Delhi. His research is focused on earthquakes and their origin in India using crustal deformation data from GPS  measurements. He has established more than 100 permanent GPS stations in various tectonic domains of India and has made major contributions in various seismic quantifications of the country. He is the recipient of several awards including the PRL award in Earth and Planetary Sciences (2011), the CSIR Young Scientist Award (2001), and the INSA Medal for Young Scientist Award (1997). He is the co-author of Three Great Tsunamis: Lisbon (1755), Sumatra–Andaman (2004) and Japan (2011). He was elected a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences in 2018.

V K Gahalaut


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India plate motion and its interactions with Eurasian plate along the Himalayan and Indo-Burmese arc

Techniques such as geological mapping, subsurface imaging, and GPS measurements have been providing valuable information towards quantification of plate tectonic forces or strain budget and configuration of subsurface faults, thus helping understand earthquakes. GPS measurements in the Indian subcontinent suggest that the India plate moves at a rate of v 5 cm/year towards the northeast and deforms internally at a rate slower than 2 mm/year, consistent with the relatively low seismicity in the plate interior regions. Along its northern boundary in the Himalayan arc, it subducts under the Eurasian plate following a stick and slip manner resulting in frequent earthquakes along the arc. The most detailed and dense GPS measurements in the Garhwal Kumaon region of the Himalayan arc, imply a strain accumulation corresponding to a slip deficit rate of 18 mm/year. Measurements also suggest that coupling between the two plates is strong and homogeneous, making it the most vulnerable seismic segment of the Himalaya which has not released strain in the past >500 years. The speaker will discuss the GPS measurement studies performed by his team along the Indo-Burmese arc. The results of the study suggest that a large part of plate motion between the India and Sunda plate is accommodated along the Churachandpur Mao fault in a predominant strike-slip manner ruling out subduction along this boundary.

© 2018 Indian Academy of Sciences, Bengaluru.