Snow and Avalanche Center 2012 Avalanche News

Chitrali youth invents avalanche warning device
January 5, 2012

CHITRAL: Realising the danger faced by people of Chitral due to avalanches, a local youth has invented a machine to warn about movement of avalanche in mountains and highlands.

“It will help to minimise the devastation caused by avalanches,” said Mohammad Khalid, who has a master degree in electronics from University of Peshawar.

He claimed that he had put the machine to proper experimental verifications. “The machine can preempt movement of an avalanche within a radius of one kilometre. It will also help to remove the potential danger of floods caused by avalanches and glacier outbursts,” he claimed.

Mr Khalid told Dawn that the machine worked on the principle of resonance. It could be used to preempt the uncontrolled sliding and slipping of snow mass down the mountains to human settlements, he said.

Resonance is a natural phenomenon in which a system vibrates with larger amplitude when synchronised with the frequency of another.

He said that the sound waves of different frequencies were transmitted to the nearby glacier within a range of one kilometre and the snow mass was pushed to slip down by the resonant frequency.

Mr Khalid said that most valleys of Chitral district were highly vulnerable to the hazard of avalanches. In the recent past, avalanches have caused devastations in the villages of Sonughur, Booni and Washich in the upper parts of the district.

He recalled that in the year 2005, the avalanches washed away the larger part of Washich village and caused death to more than 60 persons. The preemption method could minimise the devastation as people would have enough time to move to safer places, he added.

Mr Khalid said that the machine through standing waves phenomenon could sense the danger of avalanches during rain. He said that the system was fully automatic and powered by a 12 volts rechargeable battery. The battery is charged by a solar battery. The machine has two antennas, standing waves generators, frequency generator and automatic reset.

Regarding the cost of the machine, he said that it cost only Rs10,000 while its upgraded and sophisticated version could be sold at Rs50,000 on commercial scale.

He said that machine had been named as `glacier abstain system` but it would be properly renamed when put to common use.

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