The Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) which has been monitoring recession of glaciers for more than ten years in the Garhwal Himalayas by establishing a permanent monitoring station, has found that the formation of a new lake at Chaurabari glacier near Kedarnath poses no threat to the Himalayan shrine.
The data generated in the study glaciers in the Garhwal Himalayas was also used in a global climate change program, and the scientist profile was published in the Time Magazine for glaciological study. The Institute has been nurturing a monitoring system in an integrated manner by hosting the ‘Multi-Parametric Geophysical Observatory (MPGO)’ at Ghuttu (Tehri), Uttarakhand, which may lead to an earthquake precursory study in the Himalayan region.
The Institute has also launched a number of new research initiatives bearing on society which includes establishment of the Department of Science & Technology’s (DST) ‘Centre for Glaciology’ at WIHG to the backdrop of wide ranging claims on the likely impact of climate change on Himalayan glaciers and their far-reaching consequences on the Indian economy.
The important contributions in the past include discovery of conodont fauna in the Lesser Himalayas and correlation with the Vindhyan of Indian Shield, sedimentological history and fauna of Siwalik foreland basin, unravelling the processes involved in closing of NeoThethys in Indus suture of Ladakh and Karakoram, reconstructing Indian passive margin in the Tethys Himalayain Zanskar and Spiti, regional tectonics of NW Himalaya, and regional geological framework of Arunachal Pradesh.
The Institute of Himalayan Geology was established in 1968 in Delhi University under the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs through the constant efforts of Dr. D.N. Wadia, F.R.S, National Professor and Adviser to the Government of India. Later, the Institute was moved to its current location at Dehradun and subsequently renamed as Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology to honour its founder. The Wadia Institute is now developed into a national laboratory which has attained both national and international recognition.
The mandate of the Institute is to develop new concepts and models of Geodynamic evolution of the Himalayas, coordinate and collaborate research with Universities and Institutions, initiate scholarships, organize seminars, disseminate knowledge, and serve as the reference centre for the Geology of Himalayas and provide high level consultancy services to institutions, agencies and industries.
WIHG has been pursuing basic researches to unravel the orogeny of the Himalayas and provide improved an understanding on geodynamic processes, seismogenesis, climate-tectonic interactions, evolution and extinction of life, ore formation, glaciology, river systems, natural hazards (landslides, floods, and earthquakes), anthropogenic impact etc. towards the well-being of population and safe-guarding the properties and structures in the Himalaya and adjoining areas.
Research activities to understand mountain building processes and shed light on these topics are based on observations using structural geology, petrology, paleontology, stratigraphy, sedimentology, geomorphology, geophysics, remote sensing etc.
The Institute has installed Broad Band Seismographs and Accelerographs spread over Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Punjab, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh for monitoring seismicity. GPS instruments are also installed in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, J&K and Ladakh to monitor the strain accumulation rate. The WIHG has also provided an online active fault data base for Uttarakhand for seismic hazard assessment.
The WIHG strives to become one of the best geoscientific institutes in the world. The Institute has developed advanced analytical laboratories for Geosciences studies that include: LA-MC-ICP-MS, Stable Isotope Mass Spectrometer, EPMA, ICP-MS, XRF, SEM, XRD, Raman Spectrometer, TL/OSL, Magnetic Susceptibility metre etc. These facilities are being utilized by the scientists of Wadia, as well as researchers from Universities and other organizations.
In capability building the Institute has been organising training courses, including UNESCO and NSF sponsored training programs to the students. It also provides consultancy services for hydro engineering projects, drinking & groundwater surveys, natural hazards, road & rail alignments in the Himalaya and adjoining region.
During the glorious journey, a few scientists were honoured with the Padma Awards and many received the National Geosciences Awards. The Institute has published more than 2,500 research articles in peer reviewed journals, and published several books and monographs, and has produced more than 120 PhDs.
The Institute has an earth science museum depicting panoramic views of the mighty Himalaya, their evolution in time and space, life in the geological past and geological hazards. The museum attracts 15,000-20,000 visitors every year. The Institute also houses one of the richest earth science libraries in the country, with over 25,000 books and more than 90 foreign and 65 national periodicals.
The vision of WIHG is to attain specified objectives by questing for Himalayan geodynamics, seismogenesis, natural hazards, climate variability and natural resources through multi-disciplinary geoscientific investigation.
This information was provided by the Communications Team at the Dept. of Science & Technology, Ministry of Science & Technology.