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University of Waterloo

Faculty of Science
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Analysis of the 2001 Gujarat Earthquake

Prepared by
Yuan Kun Cai
20558274
ykcai@uwaterloo.ca
29th March 2018
Executive Summary

The main purpose of the report is to document the analysis the events of…

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Table of contents

Executive Summary ..................................................................................................................................... iii


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1 Introduction ................................................................................................................................................ 1
2 Geological and Seismological Data of the Gujarat Earthquake ................................................................. 4
Glossary ...................................................................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
Bibliography ................................................................................................................................................. 9
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1 Introduction
1) Disaster Location: longitude, latitude, country, near any major feature. Google Earth is

essential/indispensable in this. If you have been given a regional disaster give the

location of its major city. A clear map is essential.

Momentary shaking, vibrations and oscillations of the ground that ripple through the Earth’s crust
are called earthquakes. Earthquakes are caused by sudden shifts in the Earth’s tectonic plates that
release an immense amount of energy. Earthquakes constitute one of the worst natural hazards
which often turns into a natural disaster and causes widespread chaos and destruction. On the 26th
of January 2001, a powerful earthquake occurred with the epicenter located at latitude 23.419°N
and longitude 70.232°E. The duration of the earthquake lasted for over two minutes. This
earthquake’s epicenter was about 9 km south-south-west of the village of Chobari in Bhachau
Taluka in Kutch district of Gujarat, India. The earthquake was estimated by USGS (United States
Geological Survey) to have reached 7.7 on the moment magnitude scale and had a maximum felt
intensity of X (Extreme) on the Mercalli intensity scale. Figure 1 below shows the location of the
epicentre.

[https://www.istructe.org/downloads/resources-centre/technical-topic-area/eefit/eefit-
reports/bhuj-india.pdf]

[https://www.slideshare.net/parthpandya96/case-study-bhuj-earth-quake-26-th-january-2001]

[https://www.slideshare.net/krunal14/earthquake-in-gujarat-2001]

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Figure 1 Gujarat Earthquake Epicenter
https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/usp000a8ds#executive

In Figure 2 highlights the location of the state of Gujarat on the map of India. Gujarat covers an
area of approximately 196,024 square kilometers.

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Figure 2 The State of Gujarat in India

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4f/Gujarat_in_India.png

The nearest city to the epicentre of the earthquake is Bhuj, approximately 17.5 km away and the
largest city Ahmedabad, located about 274 km away. The quake struck as many cities were
celebrating India's 52nd Republic Day, one of the busiest days of the year. Initial reports in the
media indicated extensive damage to structures and loss of life on a massive scale. The tremble
caused high-rise buildings to shake from New Delhi to Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. Reports of
aftershocks came in from around the country. [https://reliefweb.int/report/india/information-
earthquake-india-gujarat-earthquake-national-relief-fund]. The large magnitude of the earthquake
combined with the poor construction quality contributed to large scale damage to the building stock
and a high number of casualties. Gujrat lies about 350 km from the plate boundary between the
Indian and the Eurasian Plates. This region is known to be prone to earthquakes and has seen a
major earthquake before with a similar magnitude.

There were many interesting aspects to this earthquake. This report will proceed with a breakdown
the details of the geology of the region surrounding the earthquake epicenter and seismic activity
before the earthquake and will proceed with a breakdown of data collected before, during and after

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the earthquake such as magnitude and intensity of the earthquake and determine the economic
losses and other types of damages done by the earthquake. Then this report will analyze how human
activity could have contributed to the losses and damages caused by the earthquake, different ways
that would have mitigated the effects of the earthquake and will conclude with the lessons learned
from the occurrence of this natural disaster.

2 Geological and Seismological Data of the Gujarat Earthquake


2) Disaster Context: e.g., what were the conditions before the disaster struck, global and

regional geologic/atmospheric/hydrological processes

Disaster Drivers; what were the main causes of the disaster

[https://www.slideshare.net/ankitwindlas/bhuj-earthquake-2001]

The region of Gujarat has been seismically active in the past, with a major earthquake near Allah
bund in 1819 and another in 1953 near Anjar. Based on physiographic terms, the Gujarat region
can be divided into three broad subdivisions: 1. Mainland Gujarat, 2. Saurashtra 3. Kachchh. The
three divisions are presented in Figure 3 below. This section, we will focus on the towns in Kachchh
such as Bhuj and the major city of Ahmedabad in Mainland Gujarat. This section will present
geological and seismological information for the region of Gujarat and the relevant fault system
present in this region. This section will also assess the information to determine any geological

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factors that may have contributed to the extensive damage resulted from the Gujarat earthquake.

Figure 3 Generalized Geological Map of Gujarat. 1- .1- Quaternary Alluvium, 2- Rann


Sediments, 3-
Neogene Sedimentary Rocks, 4- Paleocene Sedimentary Rocks, 5- Cretaceous Sedimentary
Rocks, 6-
Deccan Trap, 7- Jurassic Rocks, 8- Delhi Super Group of Rocks, 8- Aravalli Super group of
Rocks [http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/27787/7/07_chapter_2.pdf]

2.1 Kachchh Region


The geology of the Kachchh region was formed during the Late cretaceous to Jurassic periods. The
main mineral deposits around this region are Marl, Limestone, Basalts, Sandstones and Shales and
can be found typically 2m below the ground surface. In this region, the sandstones are widely used
in the construction of many buildings, including houses and low-rise buildings. Bhuj is located on
sponge like sandstone which will allow surface rain water to flow. Moving towards the Gulf of

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Kachchh, we can find deposited loose sands due to the presence of anticline formations. The
geology of this region suggests that this region is not that susceptible to earthquake risks.

2.2 Ahmedabad Region


Despite being about 274 km away from the epicenter of the earthquake, there was still extensive
damage to the buildings in and around Ahmedabad. The geological map of the region around
Ahmedabad shows the presence of alluvium sands. These alluvium sands are mainly Quaternary
and Tertiary sediments. This specific region is known to the part of the flood plains on Gujarat, so
the presence of the alluvial sand is not uncommon. The main characteristic of alluvium is that it is
a loose and unconsolidated soil. However, the general soil conditions within the City of Ahmedabad
does not appear to be problematic under earthquake loading, which leads to the suggestion that this
region is neither susceptible to liquefaction or seismic amplification
[file:///C:/Users/Michael%20Cai/Desktop/3B/EARTH%20270/bhuj-india.pdf].

2.3 Tectonic Setting


The Indian plate is moving northwards at a rate of about 50-60 mm/year colliding with the Eurasian
plate. Gujarat lies about 350 km from the plate boundary but the effects of this region is still
governed by the continuing continental collision along this boundary
[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_Gujarat_earthquake]. These plates are the reason behind how
the Himalayan mountains were formed.

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4) Hazard Magnitude: what was magnitude of hazard that caused the disaster (e.g. Richter

magnitude, Saffir‐Simpson, Fujita, etc)

Hazard Frequency: e.g., what was frequency of disaster‐causing‐event? Rare, common?

6) The Lesson of Precedent? Had a similar occurrence happened before? In historical time

or prehistoric time.

7)Effect of Human Activity (if any?) Did human activity contribute to event
occurrence and/or losses

8) Magnitude of Losses (death toll/economic losses)

9) Why did so much loss ensue? e.g. overwhelming magnitude? Population density? Poor

construction? Land Use policy?

10) How could this have been mitigated? e.g., what could have been done to prevent loss –

if anything?

11) Onset Conditions and Warning? Were there any onset conditions that could have

foretold the occurrence? Was there warning time? Was there warning?

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12) Lessons Learned? In conclusion what are the lessons learned which may be applied to

reduce similar losses in the future.

Natural disasters like earthquake can’t be predicated. The foremost requirement is construction of
seismically

safe structures at proper locations in the earthquake prone areas. A large population of the country
live in the highly

seismically active regions. To better deal with the hazard the art of living with earthquakes has to
be learnt.

The attempt to recovery and reconstruction process should have strong emphasis on proper
understanding and

awareness of the risk among different stakeholders, sufficient level of training and confidence
building among the

professionals and the masons and preparing appropriate planning and mitigation strategies for
useful

implementation.

The Gujarat earthquake has given a sort of ‘National wake up call’ to look within and introspect
again on the

state of disaster preparedness of the country. There should be a national learning to take appropriate
or specific

steps for disaster reduction, mitigation, prevention and preparedness. This earthquake can be
regarded as an

opportunity to learn from this disaster and to work to never let it happen.

Therefore, there is a need to learn lessons from this event and a plan must be designed for the areas
located in

the high earthquake risk zones to mitigate the impacts of future earthquakes. Development and
disaster should go

hand in hand. Development models must have in-built components of disaster reduction, mitigation
and

preparedness.

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Bibliography

[1] https://www.istructe.org/downloads/resources-centre/technical-topic-area/eefit/eefit-
reports/bhuj-india.pdf
[2] http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/27787/7/07_chapter_2.pdf

[3] https://www.istructe.org/downloads/resources-centre/technical-topic-area/eefit/eefit-
reports/bhuj-india.pdf
[4] http://home.iitk.ac.in/~ramesh/gujrat/gujarat.htm

[5] https://crisp.nus.edu.sg/~acrs2001/pdf/138gupta.pdf

[6] http://www.iitk.ac.in/nicee/wcee/article/13_2042.pdf

[7] https://gndec.ac.in/~igs/ldh/conf/2010/articles/040.pdf

[8] http://home.iitk.ac.in/~ramesh/gujrat/gujarat.htm

[9] http://www.jsce.or.jp/library/eq_repo/Vol1/Indian/Report/PDF/indo2.pdf
http://www.academicscience.co.in/admin/resources/project/paper/f201601051451997209.pdf
http://www.iitk.ac.in/nicee/wcee/article/13_2042.pdf