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India's Geological Heritage: Sites & Significance



  May 18, 2024

GEOLOGICAL HERITAGE MONUMENTS IN INDIA: SIGNIFICANCE AND KEY SITES


 
Understanding Geological Monuments

Definition and Importance:

Geological monuments, also known as geo-heritage sites, are unique natural landmarks that offer insights into the Earth's geological history. These sites showcase the distinct layers of the Earth's crust and highlight various formations, compositions, and arrangements of rocks and minerals. They are crucial for understanding the planet's geological past, including processes such as sedimentation, volcanic activity, and tectonic movements. Studying these sites helps scientists trace the evolution of the planet's surface, understand past climatic conditions, and appreciate the natural forces that shaped our world millions of years ago.

Geoheritage Value:

Geo-heritage sites help us understand the geological past, educate future generations, and maintain biodiversity. They serve as valuable resources for scientific research and attract geologists, researchers, and tourists from around the world.

Notable Geological Monuments in India

1. Varkala Cliffs, Kerala:

The Varkala cliffs are a striking natural feature characterized by their stunning red coloration and dramatic placement adjacent to the Arabian Sea. These cliffs, part of the Cenozoic sedimentary formations, are the only beachside cliffs in Kerala and offer a glimpse into the region’s geological past.

2. Lonar Crater, Maharashtra:

Lonar Crater, formed during the Pleistocene Epoch by a meteorite impact, is a significant geological structure in Buldhana district. The presence of water in the crater has given rise to Lonar Lake, known for its saline and highly alkaline waters. It is one of the four known hyper-velocity impact craters in basaltic rock globally.

3. Basalt Rock Pillars of St. Mary’s Islands, Karnataka:

Off the coast of Malpe in Udupi district, St. Mary's Islands consist of four distinct islands with Coconut Island being the most notable. This island is home to India's only interlocking basalt rock columns, formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago.

4. Ramgarh Crater, Rajasthan:

Located near Baran district, the Ramgarh Crater is one of three recognized meteor impact craters in India. With a diameter of 3.5 km, it is a significant site for scientific research and attracts visitors interested in the history of meteor impacts.

5. Tirumala Natural Geological Arch, Andhra Pradesh:

Known as Silathoranam, this natural arch is located near the Tirumala temple in Andhra Pradesh. Shaped by weathering and erosion processes over millions of years, it is a popular attraction for both locals and pilgrims.

6. National Fossil Wood Park, Tamil Nadu:

Established in 1940, the park in Villupuram District contains numerous petrified wood fossils, remnants of ancient trees that have turned into stone over 20 million years. It offers valuable educational insights into prehistoric flora and the processes of fossilization.

List of Notified Geological Heritage Sites in India

India is home to 34 officially recognized National Geological Heritage Monument Sites. Some notable ones include:

- Volcanogenic Bedded Barytes (Mangampeta, Andhra Pradesh)

- Tirupati Eparchaean Unconformity (Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh)

- Erra Matti Dibbalu (Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh)

- Angadipuram Laterite (Malappuram, Kerala)

- National Fossil Wood Park (Viluppuram and Perambalur, Tamil Nadu)

- Akal Wood Fossil Park (Jaisalmer, Rajasthan)

- Great Boundary Fault at Satur (Bundi, Rajasthan)

- Columnar Basaltic Lava of Coconut Island (St. Mary Island, Karnataka)

- Pillow Lavas near Mardihalli (Chitradurga, Karnataka)

- Shivalik Fossil Park (Sirmaur, Himachal Pradesh)

- Plant Fossil Bearing Inter-Trappean Beds of Rajmahal Formation (Sahibganj, Jharkhand)

- Ramgarh Crater (Baran, Rajasthan)

- Zawar Lead-Zinc Mine (Udaipur, Rajasthan)

Conclusion

Geological monuments in India are invaluable for understanding the Earth's geological history. They offer unique insights into natural processes and serve as important educational and research sites. As such, they attract geologists, researchers, and tourists, contributing to both scientific knowledge and cultural heritage.



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