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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Visakhapatnam : Locals take up clean-up drives at Erra Matti Dibbalu, India’s treasure of geological evolution

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Delhi : Locals in Vishakhapatnam have taken up the initiative to preserve one of their heritages, Erra Matti Dibbalu, a notified National Geo-heritage monument. Also called the Red Sand Hills, Erra Matti Dibbalu is one of many heritage sites of Visakhapatnam. A group of 45 people took up a cleaning drive at the geo-heritage site and collected bagfuls of waste.

Erra Matti Dibbalu

Erra Matti Dibbalu are rare red sand dunes and carry with them millions of years of geological processes. The dissected and stabilized coastal red sediment mounds are located between Vishakhapatnam and Bhimunipatnam.

These are one of the notified national geo-heritage monuments and are valuable scientific documents that are an important link to the history of geological evolution. The dunes comprise a light yellow sand dune at the top followed by a brick red sand unit, and a reddish-brown concretion bearing sand unit with yellow sand at the bottom. However, the dunes are very fragile and are vulnerable to natural degradation.

What is a Notified National Geo-heritage?

Geo-heritage sites are geological areas of scientific, cultural, and academic value. Some sites also hold economic importance. For eg, the Laterite in Angadipuram, Malappuram district, Kerala is significant from the economic angle since mineral deposits of aluminium ore (bauxite), iron ore, and nickel ore are known to be associated with them.

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Geological Survey of India (GSI) declares geo-heritage sites/ national geological monuments for their protection and maintenance. For eg; Rajasthan’s Akal Fossil Wood Park in Jaisalmer or the Lonar Lake, in Buldana district, Maharashtra.

How many are there in India?

There are a total of 34 geo-heritage sites in India. This includes Sikkim’s Stromatolite bearing Dolomite / Limestone of Buxa Formation at Mamley, near Namchi, South district; Nagaland’s Nagahill Ophiolite Site near Pungro, Odisha’s Pillow Lava in iron ore belt at Nomira, Keonjhar district, Gujarat’s Sedimentary Structures – Eddy Markings, Kadan Dam, Panch Mahals district and more.

Bedded Barytes, Mangampeta, Cuddapah district, Andhra Pradesh was the first national geological monument in India. It was formed by precipitation from various volcanic vapours under submarine conditions and sub-aerial showering of ash and molten barite. On the other hand, Zawar Lead-zinc mine in Udaipur, Rajasthan is the 34th in the country.

Why are geo-heritage sites important?

In addition to holding information regarding evolution, geo-heritage sites are also important from a tourism point of view for the country. These sites play a major role in promoting geo-tourism in the country and take tourism even to remote corners.

Further, they are an attraction to studies and research work due to the vast information they hold which can lead to a better understanding of the evolution, the formation of the subcontinent, the orogeny, the palaeoenvironment, and the exotic collection of paleo – flora and fauna.

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