No space for GSI branch office in fossil-rich Perambalur
Archaeologists speculate the districts of Perambalur and Ariyalur to have been under water about 135 million years ago.
PERAMBALUR: The fossil wealth in the districts of Ariyalur and Perambalur would go untapped if the authorities concerned continue to set aside the demand for a branch office of the Geological Survey of India (GSI) in Perambalur, rue activists and residents.
Archaeologists speculate the districts of Perambalur and Ariyalur to have been under water about 135 million years ago. Fossil remains found indicate the geological change undergone by the districts and denote to the existence of marine life prior to humans. In 1940, geologist M.S. Krishnan discovered the fossil of a tree believed to be dating 12 crores.
On behalf of the Geological Department, the site of the discovery was subsequently developed into a National Fossil Wood Park, followed up by the Sathanur Petrified Tree Education Centre' (SAPTEC) and the Ammonites Museum. In the Ariyalur district, a fossil museum was set up in Varanavasi in 2019.
Despite the twin districts boasting of fossil wealth, with rich content of fossil fuel found near the arid lands in Karai village, Perambalur district, concerted efforts need to be taken to bring the hidden wealth to the fore. A Vasan, an activist from Perambalur, told TNIE, "The fossils found here reveal to us that the districts were under the sea aeons ago.
A dedicated GSI office needs to be established here to bring awareness about the importance of the fossil-rich districts. Although fossils are found scattered in many places, they are not properly preserved. There has been a delay in inspecting the fossils and concretions found. Effective communication between the GSI and us has been sparse." K Vikram, another activist, echoed the views:
"The government decided to set up a geopark in Karai village to protect the historical marine life; its construction work was carried out. Therefore, it is necessary for a geologist to be available here. Fossils could be easily found in streams and elsewhere." When contacted, Perambalur District Collector K Karpagam told TNIE, "A GSI branch office here would be helpful. I will take up the demand to the state government." A GSI official said, "We will look into it."