China sets up quake monitoring station at Everest, ignores India
BEIJING: China has set up an earthquake monitoring station at the foot of Mount Everest on the China-Nepal border. India and China have for long
been discussing joint projects for monitoring earth quake and weather patterns in the Himalayas. But it now seems that China has decided to go ahead on its own.
The seismic monitoring facility will also help Beijing to keep a keep a close vigil on possible testing of nuclear devices by India, informed sources said. Seismic monitoring has been used in recent years to collect data on nuclear testing by North Korea and judge the extent of Pyongyang’s nuclear development.
The new monitoring station is being set up 4,255 meters above sea level at Tingri County in Xigaze Prefecture of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.
Going by official reports, China begun construction of the monitoring station at a cost of $140,000 in June. This is the second station in Tibet with the first one being built in Shuanghu special zone, Nagqu Prefecture as recently as December 2008.
The establishment of two stations close to the Indian border in ten months shows Beijing’s eagerness to go it alone instead of agreeing to the idea of joint project. Relationship between the two countries has soured during this period.
China’s suffered its worst earthquake in Sichuan province, which is in the Himalayan foothills in May 2008. This is an important reason why Beijing wants to monitor earth movements in the Himalayan region.
"It is the first seismic station built in south Xigaze, which suffers frequent seismic movements," the official Xinhua news agency quoted Soaring, vice director with the regional earthquake administration in Tibet, as saying.
"It can provide first-hand materials for scientific research, and enhance earthquake monitoring covering the Sino-Nepal border area," he said. There was no mention of India. Seismic monitoring usually covers vast areas and it would be possible for the Tibet station to track earth movements in India as well.
Soaring said seismic measurements could be used to study the tectonic zone of the Himalayas, where Mount Qomolangma, as the Everest is called in Chinese, is located.
Another official, Shang Rongbo, deputy head of the regional earthquake monitoring and forecast center, said signals of seismic waves could be swiftly collected and transmitted to the regional and national earthquake administrations through satellite equipment.
The harsh climate at the site had halted installation of the equipment from time to time, he said. The earth station will add to the infrastructure being built by China around Everest. It recently paved a 130 km dirt track from Tingri to Everest base camp and put up a cell phone tower now provides coverage to visitors all the way to the summit. The area also has a high-rise hotel and a police station.
China sets up quake monitoring station at Everest, ignores India - China - World - The Times of India