Annual Report 2004-2005
Earth System Sciences
Earth System Sciences comprise several programmes
including basic research in earth and atmospheric sciences
and focused activities on Deep Continental Studies, Himalayan
Glaciology, Indian Climate Research Programme etc. The highlights
of achievements under the above programmes are given below:
Under the scheme, research that enhances our
basic understanding of the Indian crust, namely, its evolution,
nature of its deformation due to the exogenic & endogenic
geological process, its effect on climate and several other
factors that have a far reaching impact on the mankind are
supported. The Programme Advisory Committee on Earth Sciences
(PAC-ES) held 4 meetings and considered 50 project proposals.
Sixteen proposals were recommended for financial support and
an equal number was recommended for modification to sharpen
focus, bridge the scientific gaps and attune them with the
global trends. The Committee also discussed a number of policy
issues and identified goals & strategies to bring about
improvements in the quality of research to achieve international
competence. Following are some of the significant recommendations:
- International participation to be strengthened to encourage
multi-directional flow of information/ personnel.
- Top priority to be given to initiate research in societally
relevant areas of earth sciences, in addition to the focus
on emerging areas.
- Encourage co-ordinated research programmes to bring together
complementary groups and gain insight into specific problems.
- Increase the number of contact programs in emerging areas
to sensitise the younger group of scientists / researchers.
- Periodic audit of labs to evaluate and improve
the status of infrastructure facility in accordance with
the world standards.
Some of the highlights of the progress/achievements
related to this programme are as follows:
New projects sanctioned
The following new projects on various topics/themes
- Assessment and Management of Ground Water Resource for
English Bazar Block, Malda District, West Bengal;
- Deformation and volume change during Ductile Shearing
in the Kumaon Lesser Himalaya of Amritpur-Bhimtal area;
- Crystal growth & characterisation of Rare Earth Vanadate
- Neogene - quaternary palynostratigraphy of Arunachal Pradesh,
Eastern Himalaya, India with Palaeo-environment and palaeogeographic
- Geoelectric Studies for Hydrological Characterization
of Sagar Island Region, South 24 Parganas, West Bengal;
- Depositional environment and sequence stratigraphy of
Bajocian-Callovian sediments of Jaisalmer Basin, Jaisalmer,
- Sub Surface Cavity Detection by Inversion of Geophysical
Data using Global Optimization Technique;
- Environment of deposition and Biostratigraphy of Early
Tertiary Lignites of Rajasthan and Adjoining Areas;
- Pedosedimentary Reconstruction of Alluvial Fan Deposits
of the Kangra Intermontane Basin;
- Sedimentology, Geochemistry and Evolution of Certain Coral
Islands of the Gulf of Mannar;
- Laboratory Culture Experiments on Foraminifera for Paleoclimatic
Studies and Pollution Monitoring; and
- Organic walled Microfossil Characterization of Palaeozoic
Litho Units of Garhwal Tethyan Himalaya with Special Reference
to the High Resolution Biostratigraphy.
Himalaya and its adjoining regions have always
remained interesting for geological investigations for understanding
their tectonic evolution as well as its climate forcing on
the entire Indian mass.
- A study on the geochemical evolution of the Lohit Plutonic
Complex and the kinematics of the thrust sheets around the
eastern syntaxis (Arunachal Pradesh) led to the delineation
of a major thrust namely the Walong Thrust that divides
the plutonic complex into granite dominated eastern belt
and basic rock dominated western belt that correlates with
Po Qu fault in the north and Sagaing Fault in Central Myanmar.
- Sedimentological studies in the foreland basins of Kangra
valley in the lesser Himalaya along Chail thrust indicated
episodic tectonic pulsation between 12 5 Million
- Morphometric and Statistical application used for the
first time in trilobite taxonomy for the Cambrian sedimentary
sequence in Zanskar- Spiti regions of Himalaya, was found
significantly important for high-resolution biostratigraphic
zonation. Further, the observed variation in the ichnofacies
distribution is attributed to the availability of oxygen
and nutrient influx.
- Rock magnetic studies on paleosols of Indo-Gangetic foreland
basin in the N.W. Himalaya indicated a highly transgressive
phase followed by a stable period of sedimentation under
a dominantly semi humid climatic regime tending to
semi-arid and cold climatic events during the Late Miocene
and early Pliocene periods.
- Multi-proxy paleoclimatic records inferred from 1.25 m.
thick peat sequence from the NW Kumaoun Higher Himalaya
indicates variability in the climate with a predominantly
wet climatic regime with intervening periods of dry climate.
The past 200 years record display a striking synchronicity
with the instrumental data.
- Climatic inferences from tree ring analysis has led to
believe that the potential of Tsuga dumosa in understanding
the impact of little ice age on SW monsoon variability in
the Eastern Himalayan Region.
Analogue Model Experiments Understanding
Projects on experiments with analogue models
were supported to gain insight in to the behaviour of the
Indian crust and its deformation.
- In a study on Cenozoic Deformation in and around India
due to Collision with Asia (Figure 2.12) it was noticed
that the strength and weight of the oceanic crust flanking
India to be the reason for the unusual efficiency of the
Indian plate to act as an indenter. Further, thinskinned
thrusting of the Indian plate and presence of a weak passive
margin in the northern portion, to be the causes, for localized
crustal thickening leading to the formation of the Himalaya.
The straight edges of the Eastern and the Western Ghats
are the locus of strike slip faulting.
- To understand the regional tectonic set up and seismicity
of the frontal and oblique ramps in the western Himalaya,
laboratory model deformation studies were carried out basing
it on observed field structural fabric. This led to inferring
that the rate, amount, and pattern of displacement along
the trailing, oblique and frontal ramps further leading
to envisage the zones of seismic activity in the region.
- In another study, using the Sandbox analogue modeling
technique, efforts were made to understand the mechanism
and growth of thrust wedges in the marginal parts of Himalaya
and its impact in the evolution of the Ganga plain foreland
Quaternary Studies in Kutch, Gujarat
- The discovery of well preserved specimens Metagoniolithon
fossils from Chhasra Formation (Late Lower Miocene/Burdigalian)
outcropping at Ramwada Mandir in Kutch district of Gujarat,
suggests that the climatic change undergone by the Indian
subcontinent from relatively cold conditions to warm tropical
conditions, leading to the extinction of Metagoniolithon
antiquum sp. nov. beyond this time.
- Studies on the Narmada valley indicated a large catchment
with higher discharge being maintained by the river ever
since the last 100 ka and its evolution due to tectonic
activity. The sediment records indicate (Figure 2.13) deposition
in a slowly subsiding basin during the Late Pleistocene,
followed by inversion during the Holocene period due to
a significant increase in compressive stresses along the
Participation in Asia-Oceania
Geoscience Society (AOGS) Meeting
20 Indian earth scientists were supported to participate in
the First AOGS meeting held at Singapore during 5-9 July 2004.
The conference provided a forum for not only to exchange ideas
but also to get acquainted with the new and advanced techniques
and offered the scope to pursue collaborative research in
Earth System Sciences.