Conservation and Sustainable Development of Geoheritage, Geopark, and Geotourism: a Case Study of Cenozoic Successions of Western Kutch, India

Abstract

Geoheritage is a concept concerned with the preservation of features with importance to earth science, such as landforms, natural exposures of rocks, and sites where geological features can be examined for further study, reference, and conservation for coming generations. Geoheritage, geoconservation, and geotourism studies are gaining interest worldwide because of their scientific, academic, historical, societal, cultural, and esthetic values. Several countries have their government policy to look after the geoheritage sites and conserve with the help of local agencies; however, in India, the concept is still to be applied in a holistic way, and there is a need of such national legislation. Kutch basin as a whole preserves the records of sedimentation for the past ~ 200 Ma. The Cenozoic (last 65 Ma.) sedimentation (~ 900 m) is considered a strato-type section for the shallow-marine sedimentary records in India. Some Cenozoic sections of Kutch are the only remained reference sections of the respective periods on the globe. This sedimentary succession acts as a geological museum for paleontology, stratigraphy, biostratigraphy, and sequence stratigraphy. Such records of past climates and sea-level fluctuations are characterizing the global sea-level history. It also provides an outcrop analog for reservoir rocks of Bombay High oil field. Taking this into account, we propose seven selected sites in the Cenozoic succession to be preserved as geoheritage sites and development of geotourism in the region viz. Matanomadh cliff section, Naredi cliff section, Fulra limestone section, Miocene succession, Paleosol of Sandhan Formation, Kharai River paraconformity section, and Bermoti River section. The advantage of a geopark comprises also in creating new employment opportunities for local youths. Further, it will help enhance the local economy by infrastructure development, health, and educational pursuits to the village-level society. The prime objective of this investigation is to make local people aware about sustainable mining and insatiable thrust for money that threatens ecologically important sites. The geological records are the consequences of millions of years of processes and are considered precious which require special care. If these records once destroyed will be lost forever and cannot be restored artificially, it is our prime responsibility to transfer the knowledge and geoheritage to future generations.

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Acknowledgments

The anonymous reviewers are thanked for critical review and scientific input to improve the manuscript.

Funding

The authors acknowledge the financial support through R&D Grant 2014 by the University of Delhi to Dr. Pramod Kumar.

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Correspondence to M. G. Thakkar.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Geoheritage: the foundation for sustainable geotourism

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Shekhar, S., Kumar, P., Chauhan, G. et al. Conservation and Sustainable Development of Geoheritage, Geopark, and Geotourism: a Case Study of Cenozoic Successions of Western Kutch, India. Geoheritage 11, 1475–1488 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12371-019-00362-5

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Keywords

  • Geoheritage sites
  • Geopark
  • Sustainable development
  • Cenozoic of Kutch
  • National legislation for Geoheritage