Prof. Sankar Kumar Nath


Designation : FNAE, FNASc, FIGU, Professor and Former Head, Department of Geology & Geophysics, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur

Brief : Professor (Dr.) Sankar Kumar Nath is a Senior Professor in the Higher Administrative Grade and a Former Head of the Department of Geology & Geophysics at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. He has emerged as one of the leading and prolific Geoscientist in the country and in the international Earth Science Arena making an excellent blend of exploration & solid-earth geophysics and earthquake hazard science & engineering with front ranking contributions in the delineation of near-surface structures, source, site and ground response characterization and integration for Seismic Hazard Microzonation, Vulnerability and Risk Assessment. Immediately after his Master’s in Exploration Geophysics from IIT Kharagpur in 1981 he joined Oil Industry in India & Abroad where he served for nearly a decade working extensively on various facets of Hydrocarbon Explorationand Geophysical Tomography. His innovative research endeavors at IIT and overseas for over three decades and the Post-Doctoral tenure at the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, USA have resulted in the development of more efficient techniques of Seismological data analysis widely used internationally for better mitigation of disasters inflicted by earthquakes and even in mine disasters in collieries. Prof. Nath has been executing a large number of sponsored projects primarily in the field of Earthquake & Engineering Seismology and Hydrocarbon Exploration with funding till date of over 50 million of rupees from CSIR, DST, MHRD, MHA and the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES). His major research focus has been on Seismicity, Physics of Earthquakes, Strong Motion Seismometry, Seismic Hazard, Vulnerability and Risk Microzonation, Geotomography and Pattern Recognition in Reservoir Geophysics. He introduced and sustaineda program on “Man Power Development in Computational Seismology” through a 24-month M.Tech. Programme at IIT Kharagpur and also helped Tejpur University, Assam in the same endeavor on DST Mission mode to cater specialized manpower requirements to Earthquake monitoring and seismological research Institutions and Industry. After the 2001 Bhuj Earthquake he coordinated the “National Programme in Earthquake Engineering Education in India” on behest of MHRD and the “National Programme for Capacity Building of Engineers in Earthquake Risk Management” initiated by MHA. He is also the institute coordinator of the “National Earthquake Risk Mitigation Programme” of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). With the research experience gained on Seismic microzonation of Anchorage, Alaska, he introduced this disaster mitigation technology in India through his maiden venture in the earthquake ravaged Himalayan State of Sikkim with the sole objective of updating the existing building codal provisions for enhanced seismic safety. He alongwith his research students developed a new generation Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Model of India at engineering bedrock alongwith design response spectra derived through a logic tree framework using a host of New Generation Attenuation Models, smoothening seismicity, layered polygonal seismogenic sources and topography-based site characterization. With his initiative and insistence on the Governmental Agencies, the microzonation effort gained momentum in Jabalpur, Jammu, Chennai, and Dehradun and so on. As the Nodal Coordinator of the multi-organizational DST and MoES Projects on “Seismic Hazard Microzonation and Evaluation of Vulnerability & Risk of Sikkim Himalaya, Guwahati Megacity, Urban Kolkata and Kashmir Valley” he has been the lead researcher and author of the Seismic Microzonation Atlas of Sikkim, Guwahati published in 2006 and 2007 and the ongoing Kolkata under the aegis of DST and MoES, Govt. of India. He chaired the Seismic microzonation endeavor of Bangalore Megacity and participated in the investigation for the NCR Delhi. The results of these consorted site-specific microzonationendeavors per UBC/NEHRP/IBC nomenclature are to be adopted in BIS Building Code for revised urban seismic safety regulations. By virtue of his vast experience and expertise in the field, the Ministry of Earth Sciences urged that he authors two Mega-volumes “Seismic Microzonation Handbook” and “Seismic Microzonation Manual” encapsulating bench-marked principles and homogeneous protocol for the usage of the seismologists and earthquake engineering community. Both the Handbook and the Manual published and released in the year 2011 by Late ShriVilasraoDeshmukhji, the then Hon’ble Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Govt. of India and are widely circulated amongst the urban development institutions in India and abroad. He jointly edited a “Training Handbook for the Faculty of the State Resource Institutions” under the aegis of the Ministry of Home Affairs for capacity building in earthquake risk management. He developed a 16 station strong motion network for earthquake monitoring in the earthquake prone Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya operative since 1997 and two broadband seismological observatories at IIT Kharagpur both in its Kharagpur and Kolkata Campuses. He has long-term seismological research collaborations with the Bullard Laboratories, University of Cambridge, the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks and NORSAR, Norway. He is a member of the Seismological Society of America and American Geophysical Union. In recognition of his distinguished achievements in Earth Sciences he has been elected in 2013 a Fellow of Indian Geophysical Union. He has been invited by UNESCO, USGS, NSET, Nepal, and the Helmholtz-Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences to participate as an invited delegate at the “International Workshop for Regional Cooperation in Seismology and Earthquake Engineering in South and Central Asia” at Kathmandu, Nepal in 2013 and in Almaty, Kazakhstan in 2014. As a member of the National Steering Committee and the Chairman of the Technical Committee formed by the Ministry of Earth Sciences for ‘Microzonation of Selected Cities in India’ he plays a pivotal role in the decision making and policy framing for the systematic seismic hazard microzonation, vulnerability and risk assessment of 64 mega cities and urban centers in the country. The onus of Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Assessment of these cities leis with Prof. Nath which he is executing on Project mode from the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Govt. of India.