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Recognizing New Geoheritage Sites in Karnataka, India


Geoheritage sites are gaining more and more importance due to their natural beauty and curiosity they arouse, besides their value as objects of study and research. Going by the vast geodiversity in India, the declared geoheritage sites are far less and thus, there is a scope to recognize and develop more across the country. The Karnataka State in southern India with rocks and landforms of antiquity offers one of the excellent provinces for recognizing geoheritage sites. Here, spectacular structural, textural, geomorphological and ancient life-form features have been studied and mapped and they could be sites of educational, scientific, research, and esthetic values, besides tourist attraction. Steep fault gorges in Sandur, lofty granite massifs in Ramanagara, natural rocky sculptures in Mudgal, abandoned open cast iron ore mines amid outstanding scenic beauty in Kudremukh, typical spinifex textures in the Archaean ultramafic lavas in Banasandra and Gattihosahalli and stromatolitic structures in Chitradurga schist belt are some of the excellent features worth declaring as geoheritage sites, which could add to the existing list of 4 such sites already declared and protected in the State. Most of the sites which are being proposed now are in mining/quarrying areas and need urgent attention for their conservation. Some of them are already facing irreversible damage and therefore it is time that their scientific value is realized and conserved. SWOT analysis has been carried out for these sites and strategies recommended by analyzing the TOWS matrix for their conservation. It is recommended that the Geological Survey of India (GSI) in coordination with the State Department of Mines and Geology (DMG) should play a key role in this endeavor with assistance from academic Institutions, Private Exploration Companies, NGOs, and individual geoscience professionals. The Government should appoint geoscience representatives on the “Boards” meant to draw policies on nature conservation. The fund available in “District Mineral Foundation,” collected as a share of the royalty for mineral mining, could be utilized to protect and maintain the identified geoheritage sites in the respective districts of the State.

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Dr.P.C.Nagesh, Department of Geology, Bangalore University provided key inputs on stromatolitic locations in Chitradurga belt. Dr.Mohamed Shareef, Sr. Geologist, GSI and Dr.R.V.Gireesh, Geologist, MGD assisted in fieldwork in the Mudgal area. Mr. Tejas K, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Acharya Institute of Technology, is thanked for his assistance in fieldwork in the central part of the Chitradurga schist belt. Critical comments and suggestions by an anonymous reviewer have greatly helped in improving the quality of this paper.

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Prabhakar, B.C., Radhika, K.N. Recognizing New Geoheritage Sites in Karnataka, India. Geoheritage 14, 3 (2022).

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