Kashmir Triassic Fossils Effaced : Untold Story || Bhushan Parimoo || LIVE IMAGE

Another attempt has been made  for   Triassic Fossil Park in Kashmir at Khonmoh, District   Pulwama  . The  Ziraat Times carried  the news the other day that  the    Environmental Policy Group  &  Srinagar Smart City Limited CEO cum Commissioner SMC Athar Amir Khan discussed Kashmir Triassic Fossil Park, Guryul Ravines, Khonmoh  on the World Tourism Day  .Wherein  a PowerPoint   lasting  for about two hours  was presented  for the  events dating back to 260-252 million years  .

(1) The Guryul Ravines , Khonmoh, geologically known as Vihi District , are the repository fossil beds dating back to 260 million years( pre-Dinosaur Permian period.The Tethys Ocean existed where Guryul Ravine , Khonmoh, now stands. The Guryul Ravine rocks are scientifically critical for geological research on the Permian/Triassic boundary which saw sudden extinction of upto 90% of all marine species and 70% of land species living about 252 million years ago. The Guryul Ravines is world famous as being among the most complete and important of that period and enjoyed Global Stratotype status till 2004; yet has been little studied.The events of massive extinction ( known as mother of extinctions) 252 million years ago are best preserved in Kashmir. The World’s first ever recorded Tsunami event is well preserved in the rocks of Guryul Ravines. 
The Khonmoh PT section of 3 metres is much larger than 27 cm of Meishan. Section(China) attracting millions of tourists. A memorandum of understanding has been signed by Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Natural Reserve New York, USA- the World’s largest Fossil Park in providing technical support required for development of Kashmir Triassic Fossil Park.
And a joint strategy chalked out for developing the internationally acknowledged Fossil Park in coming weeks. 

Prior to it the then Director Tourism Kashmir Mehmood Ahmed Shah,   during  2018  took note of its importance and acquired a land measuring about 25 kanals  of land  that was duly fenced. He has written  an elaborate write up  with regards to its relevance to protect the site and develop   it as a Fossil Park which had far more importance than other Fossil parks around the world.

But the point is what has been left  to show  of this exceptionally once well-preserved organic remains of the camoebians (testate amoebae)  in marine sediments that straddle the greatest extinction event in the Phanero-zoic: the Permian-Triassic Boundary. Outcrops from the Late Permian Zewan Formation and the Early Triassic Khonmoh  deposits represents a complete sedimentary sequence  here or   elsewhere in the Kashmir valley of this geological treasure which  had been subjected to detail investigation  from the beginning of the nineteenth Century onwards   .

While Park shall provide a glimpse of its deposition history at the same time  scenario all around  shall  drop      enough horrifying hints  to the Geological fraternity visitors  from the world   about our insensitiveness,  and failure  to preserve   these  invaluable rare  treasures the valley once  possessed   of which a few remnants  has   been now left here and there.   Guryul patch in Khanmoh,   being  flat  , unlike spur around , mining was not profitable that factor came to its rescue ,  otherwise it should have also  met the same fate as have been   meted with  almost entire   Triassic fossil pockets  from western end in  Panjratan, near Panthachowk  right up to Eastern side   up to  Chekh Sangari,  in between  generally called  Zewan  Spur  entirely  wiped out without any remorse .

Subjected reckless extraction   for  masonry stone and raw material for the cement factories.Which has left  behind  nothing but ugly scars  leaving hardly any trace of Fossil it once possessed. On the assurance of  anonymity one of the veteran Geologist sons of the soil when sought his views to be doubly sure about my field driven assessments   about the Zewan Spur   and around shared,Zewan spur, a store house of Permian fauna, has almost completely vanished due to quarrying as a building stone. 

He remembered  at Indira Nagar, Srinagar, the bulk of the material used to come from the above site. The rubble used to be full of fossil shells and fenestellid Bryozoa. Felt painful seeing this treasure getting wasted but had no control .It has not been done in a day but over decades unhindered  , the license to extract was issued  not out of ignorance but  for consideration by no one other than the Director of the J&k  Geology and Mining Department. 

Even an elementary Geological student of the state knows or should know  its importance, as such the Department of Geology and Mining instead of protecting it  as  one of the geological treasures has become a reason  to vandalise and destroy    it  a heinous crime carried with impunity.Strange enough Kashmir inhabitants who knew its importance, like Kashmir University. 

Colleges and the geologists of the repute that inhabit in the valley never raised any objection, reason better known to them, history cannot and should not  spare them from condemning their lackadaisical approach. Normally it could have not been done but the inquest revealed that the department of J&K Geology and Mining is under the spell of nonprofessional management . Was established  for Geological explorations to improve upon what was already known in 1960 .Its mandate has been  to  carry out  the work on Geological investigation on the laid down  parameters  , State forms one of the signification segments of the Himalayan range and other formations correlated formations, unknotting riddles of missing links should have been matter of intensive and extensive studies , impact of      climate change ,   abnormal sprouting of Hydroelectric projects, seismology, Glaciology, Paleontological  and mineral inquest. 

Instead  it confined itself to as a Royalty contractor,  for permitting to extract Stones  Bajri, Sand and gravels.     Over  the passage of time  proved a futile exercise . In its entire history of sixty years of establishment, out of thirteen Directors the Department has so far , only two were  the Geologist. Mr Tasadiq Hussain, its first directo  another  Sh A, R Mir  rest non technical.  

Geological fraternity world over is bound to ask rational, behind such a callous approach to deal with such a sensitive and important subject.   Kashmir has  Terasic Fossils , at other places too such as  Apharwat,Bren, Gulabgarh, Gulmarg, Khanmuh,Marhoum,Nagmarg, Muzaffarabadh  , Singpore  etc. It was Richard Dixon Oldham   during 1904, who  located Zewan beds in Vihi district Kashmir , that led to further studies by other Geologists  as well.  The Geologists from the state are second to none and have created a niche for themselves world over among the geological fraternity.  

State exhibits its own unique Geological formation, and possesses a complete Geological calendar. For a Geologist, once in a lifetime Pilgrimage to Kashmir to study its geology is a desire in preference    to acquire  firsthand knowledge and study it from various aspects.Geological fraternity world over is bound to ask rational, behind such a callous approach to deal with such a sensitive and important subject.

It requires mention the Geological investigation was started in the State during Maharaja Ranbir Singh during 1862, before the establishment of Geological Survey of India was established ,with Frederick Drew serving  as a Geologist.

 Bushan Parimoo
(The writer is a Jammu based environmentalist and a regular contributor to this Website .)
(Feedback at: blparimoo@gmail.com)

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