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SIMPLIFIER: RED SAND DESERT OF TAMIL NADU



  Jun 07, 2024

SIMPLIFIER: RED SAND DESERT OF TAMIL NADU



TERI KAADU: AN UNUSUAL LANDSCAPE

The Teri Kaadu, near Tirunelveli in southern Tamil Nadu, is a unique red sand desert, often described as having “chilli-powder sand.” This desert is a striking landscape within India, traditionally known for the Thar Desert’s dunes.

FORMATION OF THE DESERT

• Geological History: About 20,000 years ago, during the last glacial maximum, sea levels were approximately 100 meters lower, exposing the sea shelf. Winds from the retreating monsoon carried sands from this shelf inland, creating the dunes.

• Climate Changes:

• 15,000 years ago: The winter monsoon strengthened, and rivers carried silt from nearby mountains, shaping the Inland Teri.

• 11,000 to 5,000 years ago: The summer monsoon became more powerful, and rising sea levels led to the formation of the coastal dunes. Iron-rich minerals in the sand oxidized, giving the dunes their red color.

MODERN CHALLENGES


• Invasive Species: The water-guzzling Prosopis juliflora is invading parts of Teri Kaadu, while other areas see the planting of trees such as neem and cashew.

• Environmental Impact: The changing landscape and invasive species pose new challenges to the ecosystem of Teri Kaadu.

LESSONS FROM TERI KAADU

The dunes of Teri Kaadu serve as a reminder of how climate change can alter landscapes, move oceans, and impact human settlements. As the climate continues to change, similar stories are unfolding in different parts of the world, each offering unique lessons.




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