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Hyderabad: Geological Survey of India (GSI) recently identified two geological heritage sites in the Indian Himalayan Region of India. Read more about geo-heritage sites and how they promote tourism.

The sites identified are Siwalik Fossil Park, Himachal Pradesh and Stromatolite bearing Dolomite / Limestone of Buxa Formation of Buxa Formation, Sikkim. With the inclusion of these two sites, there are 34 Geological Heritage Sites in India. Earlier, the GSI identified certain geological sites across the Northeast for promotion of geo-tourism.

What are Geo-heritage Sites

Geo-heritage refers to the geological features which are inherently or culturally significant offering insight into earth’s evolution or history to earth science or that can be utilized for education.

Geological Survey of India (GSI) is the parent body that is making efforts towards the identification and protection of geo-heritage sites/national geological monuments in the country.

New geo-heritage sites

Siwalik Fossil Park (Himachal Pradesh): The Siwalik Fossil park displays a rich collection of vertebrate fossils recovered from the Siwalik rocks of the area of the Plio-Pleistocene age (2.6 million to 11,700 years ago).

Siwalik Fossil Park, Himachal Pradesh.

The deposition of Siwalik sediments took place in the narrow linear depression, called the ‘fore deep’, which started developing in front of the Himalayas since the inception of its uplift in the middle Miocene (23 million years to 2.6 million years ago).

Stromatolite bearing Dolomite / Limestone of Buxa Formation of Buxa Formation (Sikkim): This Geoheritage site at Mamley exposes lithounits of Buxa Formation, Daling Group of Proterozoic age (2.5 billion years to 541 million years ago).

The dolostones (sedimentary rock) are profusely stromatolitic (Precambrian algal structures). This site provides one of the rare examples of early life in Sikkim Himalaya. The Precambrian is the earliest of the geologic ages, which are marked by different layers of sedimentary rock.

UNESCO Global Geoparks

These are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development.

While there are 169 UNESCO Global geoparks spread across 44 countries, India is yet to have one of its own.

Some famous geological heritage sites in India

• Volcanogenic bedded Barytes, Mangampeta, Kadapa, AP
• Eparchaean Unconformity, Chittor Dist, AP
• Natural Geological Arch, Tirumala Hills, Chittor Dist, AP
• Laterite near Angadipuram PWD rest house premises, Malapuram Dist, Kerala
• Fossil wood near Tiruvakkarai, South Arcot Dist, Tamil Nadu


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Author: Howard Caldwell