|Me in the blue shirt bottom panel (thanks to GfGD blog|
for this image, check out their blog for more!)
Here's Paul to tell us more about the adventure and the important work himself and GfGD are doing!
|Earthquake hazard along the Himalaya margins is|
high since this is an area of active tectonics
The Geological Society of London and Jammu University have organised an international conference on “Sustainable Resource development in the Himalaya” to be held in Leh, Ladakh, Northern India near the Tibetan border. Prior to the conference a two day workshop has been arranged for high school students from schools across the region on the theme of natural hazards. I'll be teaching about earthquakes while GfGD are delivering the section on landslide hazards.
Leh is perched 3400m above sea level and anyone who visits is warned about the affects of altitude sickness. I knew that flying in could mean a day of acclimatising (aka laying down and feeling terrible) so I decided it made more sense to travel by road from Jammu and acclimatise along the way. This also gave me the opportunity to meet with Professor Ghulam Bhat the head of the Geology department at Jammu University and discuss possible ways to develop educational seismology in this region.
|A mountain pass traffic jam!|
To make the most of our journey Professor Ghulam Bhat arranged for a series of stop-overs where I was invited to give a lecture to students on the topic of earthquakes, firstly to high school students and local dignitaries at Bhaderwah campus just outside Jammu. Then the next day a visit to his primary school in Srinagar, then the next day a lecture to graduate students at Kargil College (photo below left), each lecture also involving an appropriate amount of hospitality and a series of every larger group photos and in between each visit a 5 or 6 hour drive over ever higher mountain passes and a night in a different university guest house. I began to feel as though I was attending a whole series of formal weddings.
|Kargil College group photo|
The main event - our workshops on Natural Hazard
Joel Gill from GfGD led the first landslides practical workshop (photo above left). It was very fun and everyone had a great time but it contained a serious message. Following a massive cloudburst event in 2010 Leh town and much of Ladakh was severely damaged by flooding and landslides with at least 255 people killed. Understanding the processes behind landslides and the sequence of events that can lead a natural hazard into becoming a disaster were the key messages on day one of the workshop.
|voting for the best student slogan on earthquake safety. The winner was|
"Don't use the staircase or you will be a death case"
|Students from St Peter’s school presented a cultural show of traditional Ladakhi |
dancing (with a couple of Bollywood numbers thrown in for fun).
On Sunday I had a rapid journey home, flying direct from Leh to Delhi, where the air felt thick and warm, almost soupy and yet invigorating after days spent in the thin breathless air of the high Himalaya. A bit sad to be missing the main conference (and especially the post conference field trips) but I managed to arrive back home in time for a quick nights sleep and Monday morning’s school run.
For more information on the work, area and project please follow all the links in the blog, the GfGD is a really great resource especially! Not to mention the excellent plate tectonic teaching resources on the GeolSoc website and our BGS notes on hazards.
You can follow me and the BGS School Seismology on Twitter @SchoolSeismo and Facebook