88-Million-Year-Old ISLE and Crater to be Geoparks
16, Oct 2018
Prelims level : Environment Mains level :
Why in News?
- Geological Survey chooses heritage locations in Maharashtra and Karnataka for UNESCO site status
- In a first, an ancient circular lake created by a meteorite strike in Maharashtra and a hexagonal mosaic of basaltic rocks in an island off Udupi are poised to become global geoparks, under a Geological Survey of India (GSI) plan.
- Lonar Lake in Maharashtra and St. Mary’s Island and Malpe beach in coastal Karnataka are the GSI’s candidates for UNESCO Global Geopark Network status.
- Lonar Lake, Buldana District is a nearly circular crater, suspected to have developed due to impact of a large meteorite on Deccan Basaltic rocks of Cretaceous age.
- A meteorite is a recovered fragment of natural object orbiting in space, that has survived transit through the earth’s atmosphere. Such hypervelocity large meteoritic impacts on earth produces craters.
- Approximately 130 terrestrial craters are currently recognised, ranging in size up to several hundred kilometers in diameter and age upto 2 Ga.
- The Lonar Crater has an average diameter of 1710 m, average rim height of 40 m and depth of 230-245 m. The circular depression bears a saline water lake in its central portion.
St. Mary’s Islands and Maple Beach:
- Columnar Basaltic Lava, Coconut Island (St. Mary’s Islands), Udupi District, Karnataka displays majestic array of multi-faced columns developed in the basalts of Deccan Trap.
- The columnar basaltic lava found in these Islands, which is very well developed in the basalts of Deccan Traps, exhibit an imposing range of hexagonal shaped or multi-faced (polygonal) columns split into a horizontal mosaic. In geological terms these are called “columnar joints”.
- The lava rocks form regular five, six or seven-sided pillars, called “laminar lava”, and are found in varying heights in all the islands; the tallest of the columns is about 6 m (20 ft). These marvellous structures, called Columnar Joints in geological parlance are nature’s exquisite handiwork. The geometrical form of the rock mosaic resembles the work of an expert sculptor.
- The Deccan Trap, evolved due to vast outpouring of hot molten basaltic lava in the western part of India during Cretaceous Eocene time (about 60 million years ago) are now present as flat-topped hills and step like terraces.
- Mary’s Island are a tiny group of four picturesque islands situated off the west coast of India near Malpe. Malpe is a natural port The major industry in Malpe is fisheries. Malpe is also known as the natural port and the largest port in Karnataka.
- Tile-manufacturing is another thriving industry in Malpe, as is the coconut industry. It is also known for the TEBMA ship building company.
UNESCO Global Geoparks:
- UNESCO Global Geoparks 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.
- A UNESCO Global Geopark uses its geological heritage, in connection with all other aspects of the area’s natural and cultural heritage, to enhance awareness and understanding of key issues facing society, such as using our earth’s resources sustainably, mitigating the effects of climate change and reducing natural disasters-related risks. By raising awareness of the importance of the area’s geological heritage in history and society today, UNESCO Global Geoparks give local people a sense of pride in their region and strengthen their identification with the area.
- The creation of innovative local enterprises, new jobs and high-quality training courses is stimulated as new sources of revenue are generated through geotourism, while the geological resources of the area are protected.
The four features that are fundamental to a UNESCO Global Geopark are:
Geological heritage of International value
- In order to become a UNESCO Global Geopark, the area must have geological heritage of international value. This is assessed by scientific professionals, as part of the “UNESCO Global Geopark Evaluation Team”. Based on the international peer-reviewed, published research conducted on the geological sites within the area, the scientific professionals make a globally comparative assessment to determine whether the geological sites constitute international value.
- UNESCO Global Geoparks are managed by a body having legal existence recognized under national legislation.
- This management body should be appropriately equipped to address the entire area and should include all relevant local and regional actors and authorities.
- UNESCO Global Geoparks require a management plan, agreed upon by all the partners, that provides for the social and economic needs of the local populations, protects the landscape in which they live and conserves their cultural identity. This plan must be comprehensive, incorporating the governance, development, communication, protection, infrastructure, finances, and partnerships of the UNESCO Global Geopark.
- UNESCO Global Geoparks promote sustainable local economic development mainly through geotourism. In order to stimulate the geotourism in the area, it is crucial that a UNESCO Global Geopark has visibility. Visitors as well as local people need to be able to find relevant information on the UNESCO Global Geopark. As such, UNESCO Global Geoparks need to provide information via a dedicated website, leaflets, and detailed map of the area that connects the area’s geological and other sites.
- A UNESCO Global Geopark should also have a corporate identity.
- A UNESCO Global Geopark is not only about cooperation with the local people living in the UNESCO Global Geopark area, but also about cooperating with other UNESCO Global Geoparks through the Global Geoparks Network (GGN), and regional networks for UNESCO Global Geoparks, in order to learn from each other and, as a network, improve the quality of the label UNESCO Global Geopark. Working together with international partners is the main reason for UNESCO Global Geoparks to be a member of an international network such as the GGN. Membership of the GGN is obligatory for UNESCO Global Geoparks. By working together across borders, UNESCO Global Geoparks contribute to increasing understanding among different communities and as such help peace-building processes.