Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Regional

20 million largest palm leaves discovered from Ladakh

Yadavindra S Rana | November 03, 2020 12:04 PM

CHANDIGARH:20 million old large fossil of Palm leaves measuring more then four feet in length have
been discovered from the Tethyan sediments of Ladakh, claimed by Dr Ritesh Arya, an international
renowned Geologist from Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh.  
While dwelling on his research, Dr Arya said that Tethys sea was once separating India and Tibet
in geological history till 20 million years ago and as a result of it the Himalayas were not born. The
presence of fossils of palm from the sediments of Indus Mollase in Ladakh clearly shows that Ladakh
Himalayas were once below the sea and the sediments from where the palm fossils were found till there
the Moutains were below the sea, states he.
The presence of palm fossils represents near coastal environment. The gigantic size of actual
specimens shows that the conditions at the time of deposition would have been hot and humid more
confirming to equatorial climatic conditions, says Dr Arya and added that these types of flora were no
where find in modern day Himalayas.
Fossils of palm leaves have been found in Kasauli Himachal by Medlicott in 1864 which were
named as Sabal major by O Fiestmantel.
  Fossils of palm have been discovered by Ritesh Arya from Kasauli in his  PhD  Thesis.
 Other evidences of near coastal farcies for Kasauli Formation have been established by  Arya on the basis
of fossils  of Garcinia Gluta Combretum Syzygium Combretum etc discovered by him in 1994 but the fossil
of palm from Ladakh is comparatively very big in size
 Fragile nature of the sediments make the recovery of the specimen very difficult  Insitu
preservation of the specimen and declaring it as Geoherotage site can help in it's preservation.This can
help attract tourists and educate the locals and tourists to know about the rich fossil and rock heritage the
Ladakh Himalayas pocesses.
 Paleo latitudinal  position of the  Indus mollase part of Ladakh was near the equator. This is also
substantiated by these fossils which are confined to Indonesia Malaysia and Andaman Nicobar Island.
So on the basis of these palm and other leaf fossils it can be concluded that Kasauli and Ladakh
were deposited in near coastal environment probably near the equator
 Between 4 to 11 N of Equator.
 Kasauli sediments on basis of Charophytes have been dated to be 20 million years. So the
Ladakh sediments from where these palms are found are also 20 million years. This also means that the
basin of Kasauli and Ladakh were homotaxial and deposited in same time. Finding fossil is rare but
procuring and preserving it is even greater challenge. Many great fossils are lost becuase they are
mishandled at time of extraction or no preservation.
 The fossil site was discovered when Dr Ritesh was searching specimens for his 1st school
museum of its kind in Ladakh.Through which he intends to educate children about mother earth. EOM

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