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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Academics & Research

Professor leads international earthquake research


20130805-chamanFault

The Chaman Fault runs along over 500 miles in central Asia. Pictured is a sketch map of the area, illustrating the faults and tectonic blocks that make up the fault. | Courtesy of uh.edu

In an international collaboration between the University of Balochistan in Quetta, Pakistan, the University of Cincinnati and UH, the U.S. Agency for International Development has awarded a $451,000 grant to research the Chaman Fault in Pakistan and improve earthquake prediction and mitigation.

Associate geology professor Shuhab Khan lead the U.S. division of the project.

Abdul Salam Khan of the University of Balochistan will lead the project from Pakistan.

“If we know how this fault is moving (over time), how fast it is moving, where it is moving, where it is slow and where it is not moving, that will give us understanding of this fault, the nature of the fault, and based on that, we can predict where there will be tectonic activity, where there will be earthquakes,” Khan said.

The project is in part of the Pakistan-U.S. Science and Technology Cooperation Program, a 2012 initiative to encourage collaboration in science and technology between the two countries.

“The U.S.-Pakistan Science and Technology Cooperation Program is one of the highlights of the U.S.-Pakistan bilateral relationship. This opportunity will not only support joint U.S.-Pakistan research across a wide range of topics, but will also help bring the fruits of research into the hands of the private sector, increasing technology transfer opportunities and supporting broad-based economic growth in Pakistan,” said Pakistani Ambassador Richard Hoagland in a press release with the Pakistan Embassy.

The Chaman Fault is a significant geological fault that runs more than 500 miles through Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is the largest fault in Central Asia, and several significant cities, such as Balochistan and Kabul, Afghanistan, lie near or even on it.

But the research will have other benefits.

“In 2005, there was a larger earthquake in Cashmere, and that (led to) 70,000 people losing their lives and over a million people being displaced from their homes,” said University of Cincinnati geology professor Lewis Owen.

“So if we can train Pakistani scientists to understand earthquake geology and do a more regional, large-scale view of the earthquake geology in Pakistan, along with detailed studies on the active faults, it has the potential to aid in (helping the Pakistani community).”

The research will be conducted by all three professors, including analyzing the fault through satellite technology and collecting samples of sand and rock from the fault line. Several University of Balochistan students will come to the U.S. to learn field techniques while training at the San Andreas Fault in California.

The research will continue for the next several years, with results coming out continually along the way.

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