Natural Hazards in the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia
Open network of Scientific Centers for Mitigation Risk of Natural Hazards in the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia
Tech Area / Field
- ENV-MIN/Monitoring and Instrumentation/Environment
- ENV-MRA/Modelling and Risk Assessment/Environment
- OBS-GEO/Geology/Other Basic Sciences
- OBS-NAT/Natural Resources and Earth Sciences/Other Basic Sciences
8 Project completed
Senior Project Manager
Rudneva V Ya
Scientific Foundation "International Center Garni", Armenia, Yerevan
- Civilian Research Center, Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek\nInstitute of Seismology, NAS, Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek\nScientific Research Company GEORISK, Armenia, Yerevan\nPMP International, Tajikistan, Dushanbe\nInstitute of Geology, Tajikistan, Dushanbe\nGeological Institute, Georgia, Tbilisi\nArmenian Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth's Interior, Armenia, Yerevan\nIlia Chavchavadze Tbilisi State University, Georgia, Tbilisi\nInstitute of Geological Sciences, Armenia, Yerevan\nTbilisi State University / Geophysics Institute, Georgia, Tbilisi
- New England Research, Inc., USA, VT, White River Junction\nUniversite Montpellier II / Laboratoire Dynamique de la Lithosphere, France, Montpellier\nMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) / Earth Resources Laboratory, USA, MA, Cambridge\nNational Observatory of Athens / Institute of Geodynamics, Greece, Athens\nEcole et Observatoire des Sciences de la Terre, France, Strasbourg\nLawrence Livermore National Laboratory / Center for Global Security Research, USA, CA, Livermore\nUniversita Degli Studi di Bari, Italy, Bari
Project summaryThe social, political and economic reforms going on in the majority of the Former Soviet Union countries are currently transforming the relations, which have been developing between the states and communities for centuries. In the meantime, influencing natural environments, these reforms in turn undergo the impact of such environments. With adverse course of events, natural catastrophes, likewise the threat of their occurrence, may determine a level of environmental stress that considerably affects safety in the region. Insufficient, or inadequate awareness of populations and governments about the actual rate of hazard and risk in own and neighboring countries is an additional factor that complicates mutual understanding between the countries of the region. This is a matter of particular concern for large technological facilities, because the damage suffered by these structures could be hazardous for all countries of the region. Oil-fields in the Caspian Sea (Azerbaijan), trans-regional oil pipelines (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia), nuclear power plants (Armenia), large chemical plants, dams and water reservoirs (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan), depositories of radioactive wastes or wastes with high content of heavy metals (Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic) are on the list of such structures and it can be still continued.
On the contrary, if undertaken timely, preventive measures aimed at hazard and risk reduction, environmentally sound use of the natural environment and science & technology cooperation can serve tools to strengthen safety and facilitate sustainable development in the territory of the FSU countries. Active faults, accompanying seismic and volcanic hazards, along with most of other natural hazards, are trans-border phenomena and call for trans-border cooperation in the study, assessment and reducton of the natural risk.
Solution of many problems related to environmental protection, natural hazard assessment and reduction is a task that requires developing infrastructure, capability and organizational basis for coordinated joint efforts in the crisis and post-crisis situations.
The experience of regional cooperation in tackling problems rising on the margin of environmental protection and regional safety indicates the need for creation of an open network of international non-governmental scientific centers taking into account that such network:
- represents an open forum aiming to coordinate actions of perse international institutions and structures and to use the expertise and experience they have accumulated;
- supports its analyses by consultations with, and returns the obtained results for use by, governmental structures, scientific community and non-governmental organizations in the concerned region;
- strives to transcend inter-state and inter-disciplinary barriers, using the expertise of information analysis, geographic interpretation and dissemination of the information to prepare proposals for decision-makers at different levels; and,
- it is set to realize in practice the proposed solutions of environmental and regional safety problems, and hazard assessment and risk reduction in vulnerable points.
The network of non-governmental scientific centers may be beneficial for:
- More efficient spending of international grants (compared to the how such funds are spent by academic and other organizations),
- Allowing representatives of grant-giving or other kind of international organizations, or private persons, investing monetary or material assets, to become members of the scientific center management boards and take direct participation in the planning, management or implementation of grant or targeted financing programs.
Therefore, creation of an open network of international scientific centers is the main aim of this Project. The network is open because any countries may apply to accede to it.
Other objectives of the network created are to:
- Creation of a database on natural hazards and risks and open exchange of these data;
- Monitoring of geodynamic and seismic processes and their interaction with other natural hazards;
- Assistance to governmental and non-governmental organizations in emergency situations and natural disasters
- Assessment of hazard/risk of natural disasters in the regions of the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia to support trans-regional international projects aimed at providing national safety , including energy aspects
In compliance with these objectives, the main tasks of the project are set to the following:
- Creation of new, or reformation of existing non-governmental science and technology centers in each of the participating countries - Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan;
- Joint studies in geodynamics and seismology in the selected trans-boundary test-zones;
- Deployment and development of observation networks within the selected trans-boundary test-zones;
- Creation of special task force groups for prompt response in case of prepared or realized natural disasters;
- Establishment of a net of satellite information collection, processing and transmission between the science and technology centers, test-zones and prompt response task-force groups with output to a high-performance computation system;
- Training of young specialists to carry out research in the test-zones and work under the staff of special prompt response task-force groups.
The organizations from Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan involved in project implementation are listed below:
- Scientific Foundation “ Garni International Center ”( SF “GARNI”), Armenia
- Armenian Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth (AASPE), Armenia
- Institute of Geological Sciences, National Academy of Sciences (IGS NAS), Armenia
- “GEORISK Scientific Research Company” CSJC (“GEORISK”)
- United Survey for Seismic Protection of Georgia (UNSSP), Georgia
- Institute of Geophysics of the Academy of Sciences, (IGPh), Georgia
- Institute of Geology of the Academy of Sciences (IG), Georgia
- Institute of Seismology of the National Academy of Sciences(IS NAS), Kyrgyz Republic
- Civil Research Center (CRC), Kyrgyz Republic
- Institute of Geology of the National Academy of Sciences(IG NAS), Tajikistan
- Natural Disaster Prevention, Mitigation & Preparedness, Science & Production Organization (PMP International),
The participating institutions of the Project have rich experience of study, creation and maintenance of monitoring networks, including those deployed in strong earthquake epicenter areas, creation and processing of databases in the relevant fields. The listed organizations concentrate the main scientific and engineering potential of Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan in the field of Earth Science. As far as openness is one of the basic concepts for the created net of international centers, any country can participate in the implementation of the project.
The realization of the project will ensure:
- promotion of scientific co-operation in the field of geodynamics and seismology at the regional level and application of the acquired knowledge for natural hazards and risk mitigation;
- a direct link to an existing national laboratory, or observatory (Bakuriani, Garm, Garni, etc.) and thus an access to available national databases;
- creation and development of a joint multi-purpose regional database of seismological, geophysical, and GPS measurement data, as well as specialized software enabling solution of urgent applied problems in Earth Physics
- developing the capacities of GIS applications, including problems of seismic risk, earthquake prediction and geodynamic hazard;
- developing basic and applied studies on the issues of trans-regional interest, such as development of geodynamic and seismotectonic models, improvement of regional seismic wave attenuation models, studies of seismic regime (investigation of earthquake aftershock sequences in the region to estimate the possibility of strong earthquake re-occurrence) further development of seismic hazard and risk assessment methods and database creation,
- creation of a satellite information network of data collection, storage, transfer and processing by and among the science and technology centers, test-zones and special task-force groups of prompt response with an output to a high-performance computation system;
- improving the professional training of young specialists by acquainting them with advanced technologies of data collection, processing and analysis, up-to-date equipment of observation networks and information transmission and storage technologies.
The created advanced technological basis will enable conducting fundamental studies of regularities of the geodynamic processes, developing and checking various geodynamic models, which will constitute a foundation for training of young specialists.
Particular attention will be paid to the choice of locations for seismic station installation sites, permanent and benchmark GPS measurement stations, considering the existing disposition of block structures and active faults.
Scientific and practical results obtained in the implementation of the project will be converted to a convenient and mutually agreed format and delivered to respective governmental and private organizations, and to the persons concerned and responsible for management and reduction of the natural disaster risks
Implementation of the project will help scientists and specialists from Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan previously engaged in military science to apply their expertise in the solution of civil research problems.
Foreign collaborators have actively participated in the development of this project and will continue their collaboration with the project participants under the following directions:
- information exchange in the course of project implementation;
- provision of materials and advice to identify equipment required, locations of GPS stations and benchmarks, and commenting on the reports submitted;
- help in mastering new research techniques and technologies;
- participation in training courses for young specialists, seminars and workshops;
- providing opportunities to host project participants at western universities and laboratories
Additional discussions concerning this project have been held with the NATO, CRDF, and other international organizations to provide for good coordination with other related initiatives, as well as to coordinated search for funding of the measures through other potential funding organizations.