Thursday , October 21 2021

A vanishing geoheritage site at Chittorgarh soon to turn into a tourist spot!

Udaipur : Some 80crore years ago, this place had been a sea. Remnants found here called Stromatolites are known as impression of one of the earliest form of life on earth that consumed the carbon dioxide from the then COrich atmosphere and gave out oxygen that enriched the atmosphere with life sustaining oxygen. Bojunda Stromatolite Fossil Park near Chittaurgarh is an exposure within the massive Bhagwanpura Limestone of the Vindhyan age. In 1976, the Geological Survey of India had included the site among the lists of National Geological Monuments and there are 12  such geoheritage sites in Rajasthan.

Since then, this site had been lying forgotten but thanks to the initiative taken by the Department of Mines and Geology in joint association with the Chittorgarh district administration, a geopark is proposed to be developed at this forgotten site. A team of experts and authorities including Pradeep Agarwal, Additional Director,Mines and Geology and Collector Tarachand Meena and others visited the site recently. Meena ordered to complete the mapping of the area and directed for a proposal of geopark in 12 hectare area  here. 

“The Bojunda geopark has great potential to become a popular destination for tourists in this Mewar Circuit, but it needs to be promoted suitably by the State and Union Ministries of Tourism. Because of its favorable location and a welcome variation from a routine tourist site, this destination would be a welcome ‘satellite site’ for the visiting tourists and students” Prof PS Ranawat, a geoheritage expert and advisor said. Ranawat has submitted a developmental plan under Phase 1 that includes boundary wall, gateway and a parking area.

“An Interpretation Center  having a hall and a small office room for indoor museum and audio-visual display and wall mounted images and floor-placed 3-D models about the various geodiversity of this district is proposed. A TV or a big screen display system and about 50-seat facility for viewing a video clip or slide show should also be present in this IC. Display facility will showcase representative samples of georesources of Chittaurgarh, viz. limestones, sandstones, shales, clays, red ocher…Charts of georesources of the area, industries based on them (smelter, cement plants, gang-saws…)their impact on economy and society should be installed” Ranawat said.

What are Stromatolites?

Stromatolites are structures produced by blue-green algae, which through their filaments, attract and bond carbonate particles forming a mat. They are mostly columnar structures at right angles to the horizontal carbonate rocks resulting from the combination of life activity and sediment trapping and binding ability of algal assemblages and preying bacteria. They form generally in intratidal (shallow water) regime where tides bring floating sedimentary material continuously and make it flow through carbonate particles. The Vindhyan group of rocks of India is one of the largest and thickest sedimentary rock sequence of the world, which was deposited in an intra-cratonic basin, it is composed mostly of shallow marine deposits. It is believed to have recorded a substantial portion of past 1000 million years of earth history and hence contain valuable information on the evolution of the atmosphere (CO2-rich to O2-rich), climate, and life on our planet (unicellular marine life).

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