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GSI lists geo-tourism sites in NE

Context:

The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has identified certain geological sites across the Northeast for promotion of geo-tourism as some States in the region prepare to ‘unlock’ from September 2021.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-I: Geography (Geographical Features and their Location)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Geological Survey of India (GSI)
  2. About the places notified by GSI

About the Geological Survey of India (GSI)

  • The Geological Survey of India (GSI) was founded in 1851 and it is an attached office to the Ministry of Mines.
  • The GSI was founded for: (i) Conducting geological surveys and studies of India and (ii) Acting as a prime provider of basic earth science information to government, industry and general public, as well as the official participant in steel, coal, metals, cement, power industries and international geoscientific forums.
  • The main functions of GSI relate to creation and updation of national geoscientific information and mineral resource assessment.
  • These objectives are achieved through ground surveys, air-borne and marine surveys, mineral prospecting and investigations, multi-disciplinary geoscientific, geo-technical, geo-environmental and natural hazards studies, glaciology, seismotectonic study, and carrying out fundamental research.
  • Outcome of work of GSI has immense societal value. Functioning and annual programmes of GSI assume significance in the national perspective.
  • GSI, headquartered at Kolkata, has six Regional offices located at Lucknow, Jaipur, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Shillong and Kolkata and State Unit offices in almost all States of the country.

About the places notified by GSI for Geo-Tourism

  • Twelve locations in the Northeast are included in the 32 approved geo-tourism or geo-heritage sites in the country. 
  • These are scenic places that can be top attractions through responsible tourism.
  • Of the 12 sites in the Northeast, three are in Meghalaya, two each in Assam and Tripura, and one each in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim.

Mawmluh Cave

  • The Mawmluh Cave is located near the Cherrapunjee in the East Khasi Hills district in Meghalaya, 
  • This cave led scientists to the Meghalayan Age associated with a major climatic event – very abrupt, critical and significant drought and cooling – 4,200 years ago.
  • A stage of the Meghalayan Age is defined from a specific level in a stalagmite from this cave. According to geologists, speleothems from the cave provide important records of Holocene paleo-climate and paleo-monsoon. 

Mawblei or God’s Rock

  • The Mawblei or God’s Rock is located near Syntung village in East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya. 
  • It is a huge balancing rock slanting at an angle of about 45 degrees in the south-southeast direction on a hill slope at 1,303 metres above mean sea level overlooking the Wahrashi River valley.
  • Mawblei in the Khasi language means God’s Rock and is a sacred place for the local populace.

Therriaghat

  • Therriaghat is located in East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya, and it is probably one of the best-preserved and most complete Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary sections in India.
  • Most of the large vertebrates, planktons and many tropical invertebrates suddenly became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period. 

Majuli

  • Majuli is a river “island” (among the world’s largest) at the mercy of the Brahmaputra in Assam.
  • The river erodes the island every year but also deposits soil to ensure a constant change in its shape. 
  • The island is also the hub of spiritualism in Assam because of a number of ‘satras’ or Vaishnav monasteries established by the 15th-16th century saint-reformer Srimanta Sankaradeva and his disciples. 

Umananda

  • Umananda is one of the smallest inhabited islands in the Brahmaputra in Assam. 
  • Umananda is off the administrative hub of Guwahati and sports an old Shiva temple.
  • The island is actually an inselberg, composed of the rocks of the Assam-Meghalaya gneissic complex.

Chabimura

  • Chabimura is located in the Gomati district of Tripura and is known for its panels of rock carving on a steep hill wall on the bank of river Gomati. 
  • The huge images of Shiva, Vishnu, Karthikeya, Durga and other gods and goddesses date back to the 15th-16th century and the biggest carved deity is about 20 ft.

Unakoti

  • Unakoti is site in the Unakoti district of Tripura which has numerous rock-cut sculptures and temples made between the 7th and 9th centuries. 
  • The place is a historic Shaiva pilgrimage 172 km from Agartala. 

Sangetsar Tso

  • Sangetsar Tso is popularly known as Madhuri Lake and is located in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh, close to the border with Tibet.
  • It was formed due to the damming of a river during a major earthquake in 1950. 

Loktak Lake

  • Loktak Lake in Manipur is the largest freshwater lake in the Northeast. 
  • The attractions of this lake are the ‘ phumdis’ or floating biomass and the ‘phumsangs’ or huts of fishermen on them.
  • The Keibul Lamjao National Park, the only floating wildlife habitat on earth, is on the southwestern part of the lake and is the last natural habitat of the sangai or brow-antlered dancing deer.

Reiek Tlang 

  • Reiek Tlang is located in Mizoram and this hill is a cuesta (Cuesta means a ridge with a gentle slope or dip on one side and a steep slope or scarp on the other) formed due to erosion of the tertiary sand shale alternations. 
  • The local authorities host the annual anthurium festival at a heritage village near the Reiek peak.

Naga Hill Ophiolite

  • Geologically referred to as NHO, the Naga Hill Ophiolite is in the Pungro region of Kiphire district of Nagaland.
  • It refers to the ophiolitic rocks of mantle and oceanic crust percentage at the continental plate margin with vast potential for intensive research and economic growth.
  • The NHO consists of a variety of Mesozoic and the subsequently Cenozoic rocks – magmatic, metamorphic and sedimentary – that originated at the India-Myanmar convergent plate boundary. It has been assigned ages ranging from Cretaceous to Paleocene.

Stromatolite Park

  • The Stromatolite Park in Sikkim is a site comprising stromatolitic (algal) development – boulder outcrops with circular structures – hosted in the limestone of Buxa Formation.
  • It provides one of the rare examples of early life on earth in the Sikkim Himalayas.
  • The age of the Buxa Formation is tentatively assigned as Meso-Neoproterozoic based on the available evidence of stromatolites and organic-walled microfossils.

-Source: The Hindu

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