V Sunil


V Sunil is Scientist D and Scientist-In-Charge-Deep Sea Surveys and Mapping, National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, Goa. He is a marine geophysicist with a PhD (2014) in geophysics from UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromso, Norway. He is an expert in numerical modelling of the dynamics of gas hydrates in glaciated margins. He has over 13 years of experience in collecting and analysing marine geophysical and geological data, broad research experience in the field of natural gas hydrates and methane seepage in marine sediments and geohazards, focusing on its impact on the environment and climate, and an extensive field experience with over 400 days of ship time in the North Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Arctic Ocean. His current research focuses on geohazards in the Indian EEZ, hydrothermal systems in mid-oceanic ridges, and exploration of hydrothermal minerals.

V Sunil

Session 2B - Symposium on "Landscape and Seascape of Western India and Beyond"

Binod Sreenivasan, IISc, Bengaluru

Mapping the hidden features and potential hazards in the exclusive economic zone of India

India's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), extending 200 nautical miles from its coastline, is a vast expanse of ocean teeming with various resources. For the optimum utilisation of resources available in the oceanic region and to enhance our knowledge about the scientific issues related to them, the Government of India initiated a project on comprehensive mapping of the EEZ of India. The project under the aegis of the Ministry of Earth Sciences is organised and implemented by the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (nodal organisation). The National Institute of Ocean Technology, National Institute of Oceanography, and Geological Survey of India, Mangaluru, are participating in the project. State-of-the-art multibeam swath bathy metric surveying of the EEZ is the main focus of this national project, apart from gathering all other possible marine geophysical data. An area of about- 1.7 million sq km has been surveyed so far using a multibeam echosounder, comprising over 90% of the deep-water blocks. The data have unveiled many morphological features within the EEZ of India, including many bathymetric highs, submarine canyons, and submarine landslides, etc., many mapped and identified for the first time. Along the western continental margin of India, a total of 33 bathymetric highs were mapped, elevations varying from 200-2300 m, and classified based on morphometric parameters. Accurate charting of these features is crucial for ensuring safe navigation. Bathy metric highs are significant for their role as biodiversity hubs and, consequently, important fishing areas, and can also serve as host sites for valuable mineral deposits containing various rare earth elements. Potential geohazards, such as submarine landslides, were identified on both the western and eastern continental margins, with paleo landslides observed off the coasts of Kerala and Chennai. Cracks on the seafloor were spotted off the Tamil Nadu coast, which might act as precursors to future landslides. This comprehensive mapping initiative plays a vital role in safeguarding India's economic prosperity, conserving marine ecosystems, and ensuring the sustainable development of its maritime territory.

© 2023 Indian Academy of Sciences, Bengaluru.