New Delhi: The ministry of earth sciences is putting in place a topological model for India in order to understand earthquakes better. It is also beefing up its seismic station network by setting up 10 such stations each in Nepal and Myanmar.

These initiatives, ministry officials said, are not the result of the recent quake in Nepal. The move to build a topological model was conceived in January and the plan to set up seismic stations outside India was approved more than a year ago.

“We need to understand the structure of the earth and kind of rocks. The fundamental purpose is to understand the physics of earthquake when it happens. The model will provide knowledge of the properties of the material," said earth sciences secretary Shailesh Nayak.

It will be applicable not only to vulnerable areas in seismic zones but throughout the country.

“Once you understand physics, then only the next step (of prediction) comes. To convert your knowledge into predictive capability is two separate issues but one thing is clear—you can’t predict if you don’t have knowledge. We are moving in that direction with this model but not necessarily immediately," he said.

There are over 66 active faults in India, and the Himalayan belt, extending 2,400km, is dissected by 15 major active faults, according to the seismotectonic atlas of India.

India currently has 84 seismic stations and has placed orders for equipment to expand the network to 130 stations.

Meanwhile, the process to buy instruments to set up the 20 seismic stations in Nepal and Myanmar is on. The cost of the programme is around 6 crore, which will be borne by India. The installation work would finish by the end of the year.

The move is part of plans to build capacity to respond to immediate relief work by assessing the areas affected by earthquakes. The data on earthquakes from the stations in Nepal and Myanmar will also help understand its impact on India.

Close