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GSI Discovers India’s largest Natural arch in Odisha

The state unit of the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has proposed to declare the ‘Natural Arch’ in the Kanika range.

Why in News

  • The state unit of the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has proposed to declare the ‘Natural Arch’ in the Kanika range of Sundargarh forest division, a Geo Heritage Site.
  • If it is done, it will be the biggest natural arch of the country to have the Geo Heritage tag.
  • Apart from the arch at Sundargarh, India has two others- one at Tirumala hills in Tirupati and another at Andaman and Nicobar. However, both of them are smaller compared to the one in Sundargarh.

About India’s Biggest Natural Arch

  • The Sundargarh natural arch, present in the ferruginous sandstone of the Upper Kamthi formation, dates back to about 184 to 160 million years in the lower to middle Jurassic age
  • It is an oval-shaped arch and has a length of 30 metres at the base and is 12 metres high.
  • The alcove of the natural arch has a maximum height and width of 7 metres and 15 metres, respectively. 
  • The natural arch and its surrounding area are a storehouse of different primary sedimentary structures like planner and cross-bedding along with occasional current ripples signifying high energy fluvial environment during sedimentation.
  • Formation: Formation of the natural arch could be due to fault activities and the nature of lithotype, which have enhanced the process of sub-aerial weathering over a long period.

Protection of Geo-Heritage Sites

  • The conservation of geo-heritage sites including Sundergarh Natural Arch requires special attention and protection.
  • GSI declares these sites as National Geological Monuments and protects them.
  • Collaboration with State Governments to implement necessary measures for safety and maintenance.

Geo-Heritage Sites

  • Geo-Heritage Sites (GHS) have rare and exceptional geological, geomorphological, mineralogical, petrological and paleontological features.
  • Landmarks may include natural rock formations, caves, and other significant geological formations.
  • GSI plays a key role in identification, declaration and protection of GHS in collaboration with State Governments.

Conservation and Promotion

  • Geological heritage sites require conservation measures to protect their geological features and prevent degradation.
  • Creating awareness among local communities, tourists, and policymakers about the significance of these sites is crucial.
  • Promoting responsible tourism at geological heritage sites can generate economic opportunities while ensuring their long-term preservation.

Read also:- Ramsar Sites in India

GSI Discovers India’s largest Natural arch in Odisha,GSI Discovers India’s largest Natural arch in Odisha

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