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 (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