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Study team warns of breach to quake-cracked Indian dams

THE GUJARAT region of north west India faces monsoon flooding this summer unless emergency repairs are made to dams cracked by recent earthquakes.

Nine earth dams could be breached when the monsoon rain arrives in July, warned Dr Gopal Madabushi of the Institution of Structural Engineers' Earth quake Engineering Investigation Team (EEFIT).

A powerful quake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale, followed by another measuring 7.9 struck the region in January causing widespread damage (Ground Engineering March).

Severe cracks have developed in the clay core and the rip-rap outer shell of rock and boulders has slipped badly at the Rudra Matha, Tappa, Fatehgadh and Kafawathi dams inspected by a recent EEFIT mission to Gujarat.

'Damage to the earth dams has been immense and urgent repairs are needed to them before the onset of monsoon rains, 'Madabushi said.

The EEFIT mission also discovered that soil liquefaction was widespread in inland Gujarat despite the low water table.

'The landscape is dotted with sand boils up to 6m in diameter, ' said Madabushi. 'It usually happens in little pockets but it was quite widespread.The earthquake forces were strong enough to bring water to the surface from a long way down.

This is unique.'

In coastal areas liquefaction caused massive damage to four bridges, two railway lines and two highways and two ports.

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