July 22, 2009
Amrita’s recently deployed wireless system for landslide detection has issued its first-ever warning — the possibility of an imminent rainfall-induced landslide in the hilly Munnar region of Northern Kerala. The region is prone to such disasters; however the past three years have not seen any major landslides in the area. Heavy rains during this monsoon season have resulted in soil movements, a signal to an impending disaster.
“Our wireless sensor network system has detected certain signals that indicate vulnerability of this region to possible landslides,” stated Dr. Maneesha Ramesh, who led the deployment. “The torrential rainfall that is happening in this region, has led to an increase in pore pressure and also noticeable soil movements. A pore pressure transducer deployed 14m into the earth is showing gradual increase in pore pressure. In addition, strain gauges deployed at the same location, at various depths point to slight movements of underneath soil.”
The team has sent an official letter to the District Collector stating the findings. “In case the torrential rainfall prevails, it would be wise to alert the people of the region and advise them to relocate to another area,” the letter stated.
The wireless network system for landslide detection was developed in partnership with 10 academic and industrial research institutions from the European Commission. The system, consisting of 50 geological sensors and more than 10 wireless sensor nodes, is functional from June 2009.