Do you know India’s geoheritage sites of Jhamarkotra and Zawar?

Source: The post is based on the article “Do you know India’s geoheritage sites of Jhamarkotra and Zawar?” published in The Hindu on 20th March 2023

What is the News?

Society of Earth Scientists (SES), a group of independent researchers bridging the gap between earth science and society, organized the International Geodiversity Day in October 2022. 

As part of this, the researchers visited Geo-heritage sites namely: the fossil park at Jhamarkotra and metallurgical remains at Zawar.

What is a fossil park at Jhamarkotra?

The fossil park at Jhamarkotra is located in the state of Rajasthan.

It hosts stromatolites dating back 1.8 billion years, exhibiting a variety of textures and sizes.

Jhamarkotra’s fossils are phosphate-rich because the trapped sediments were mainly phosphate minerals.

What are stromatolites?

A stromatolite is a layered sedimentary rock formed by microorganisms. 

As such, stromatolite fossils preserve the record of cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae – the earliest life on the planet. 

These organisms developed the ability to photosynthesize and make their own food. By doing so, they pumped vast amounts of oxygen into the atmosphere of primordial Earth, allowing most other life to develop and flourish.

Stromatolites are sometimes called ‘alligator-skin rocks’ because of their unusual texture. 

What is Zawar?

Zawar is an interesting geo-heritage site that lies some 40 km south of Udaipur. It is the world’s oldest known zinc-smelting site.

The discovery here of earthen retorts – brinjal-shaped, long-necked vessels – is particularly significant. Their presence here suggests Zawar had a unique zinc-smelting legacy.

Note: Zawar’s zinc-smelting operations date back 2,000 years.

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