Geohazards in Bangladesh

Installing the seismometer array

by |February 22, 2018

Jim, Chris and myself being hosted at the original scouted site for B11. We were served tea along with grapes, pomegranate, and oranges.

I spent two more days with Jim’s team. The first day we went to scout two of the sites and then install one that was already scouted. Humayun had sent a team of students out to scout the 28 seismometers we were installing, but some of the sites were good and some were not. B11 was too close to the highway and without an out of the way place with a good place for a solar panel. After tea and fruit, the owner walked around the village with us and we found a better site. It was at the edge of a yard next to the cow shed and at the edge of a slope. The family was ready to host it

View of channel will boat through the trees on the walt between the site and the car. During the monsoon, it will be used to get around.

there, so we moved on to Scout B12, the one site that was not scouted. I could see there were no roads to where I have located the site. I chose a new place as we tried to drive to it. We went as far out on the road as we could drive and started talking to people. We met the local chairman and walked around with him. There were a couple of larger, more elevation homes and we went to one and discussed it with the family. They were positive, but would make a final decision tonight.

We went on to B13, already scouted, to

Walking through a village looking for a place to put the seismic station.

install. It was on the other side of the Meghna River. We unloaded our gear and got ready, but the family backed out. He thought the installation was for 2 hours, not 2 years. We went looking for a new site. First locally, then driving a little farther afield, then as a school but we struck out. It was the end of the day and we have not put any seismometers in the ground.

The next day was better. In the morning we went to install B11. When that was

Chris in the seismometer hole at B12. It is the larger hole for the sensor that needs a “vault” – the blue barrel in the background.

done we decided to try a different road for B12. We went out on it as far as we could and beyond that point there were no homes. We turned around and stopped at every house to inquire about putting a seismometer there. Actually, Sam did and without speaking Bangla, there was little we could do. Some weren’t interested or scared of the equipment, some had no good location. After about a half dozen homes, we waited outside one promising place, but the owner wasn’t home. Finally his brother said we could put it at his house.

Sam discussing the installation with the person whose house we eventually used.

Not quite as good, but it was a bird in the hand. That night Humayun and Sanju arrived with Paul, who flew in to see the geology on the way to NE India. After dinner, Paul and Sanju went east to join the other team, while Humayun joined ours.

The next day, Jim, Chris and Sam went build a fence at B11, while Humayun and I went to scout. I felt that with the problems both teams were having as some sites, we might not be able to finish

Chris waiting for the deliberations to finish with a flock of kids.

on time. Adding a third team for scouting would help save time and let the other concentrate on the actual installations. We went to the government building for B10. When it turned out to not be good, we went to the local chairman and he ended up offering his house, an excellent site. Then it was time for B13 once again. We tried on the other side of the Old Brahmaputra River. The Brahmaputra shifted about 60 mi west of here about 200 years ago leaving a smaller river and a broad low area with rice fields and

Some of the rice fields that surrounded us in this particularly, low flat part of Bangladesh .

brick factories. We took smaller and smaller roads, ending in a heavily rutted dirt road. We saw a government building that looked good, but it was locked. We talked to the neighbor and decided to put the instrument there. Not an ideal location, but after 2 days of failed attempts to get B13, we took it and headed east to join the other seismology team, stopping to say goodbye to the team finishing up B10.

Jim tries to talk to an older neighbor while waiting. However, neither speaks the other’s language

The completed station at B12 with the wire mesh fence protecting the buried sensor. The box is inside the house.

Sam on the roof securing the solar panel while Razzak holds it in place with a bamboo stick.

Our car and truck on the road past B12. It is elevated to prevent flooding during the monsoon with rice paddies on either side.

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