Scaling the heights to develop avalanche warning

21-Dec-2017

2017 Menzies Alumni President and Engineering Scholar, Dr Adrian McCallum, has just returned from an expedition to Nepal with his engineering students, exploring various aspects of earthquake risk and impact.

"It was a multi-faceted adventure, with two weeks spent investigating post-earthquake building construction in Nepal, with my fourth year engineering students from the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC).

"The second two weeks was spent in the Annapurna Sanctuary (pictured) investigating the viability of a cheap slope stability radar (SSR) that can be used to monitor landslides and avalanches," Adrian said.

The expedition extends Adrian's passion and commitment to developing an affordable earthquake early warning system to be deployed in villages in places like Nepal and across the Himalaya.

"It was a very productive time that should yield not only some useful post-earthquake building remediation methods, but should also lay the groundwork for future slope stability research in the Annapurna region and beyond," Adrian said.

"I've laid the foundation for a future research expedition, planned for 2019 and I've found colleagues in Newcastle, UK who are working on similar matters and established a valuable network of passionate and competent Nepali researchers with whom to explore future opportunities.

"One of the other positives from the trip was establishing a valuable baseline for the deployment of the SSR in measuring glacial geohazards, so that refinement can occur in the laboratories at USC, ready for future field-deployment.

"There's great potential for the development of a geohazards research group here at USC, that can combine science and engineering and use innovative technology to save lives in remote areas of the Himalaya and beyond," Adrian said. "I look forward to continuing this journey, with future students and collaborators."

In the meantime, Adrian is adjusting to the change in climate after returning to Queensland.