Ladakh was a coastal area: Scientists
Palaeobotanists scouring the icy heights of Jammu and Kashmir came across a set of plant fossils near Tsokar in the Eastern Ladakh region a proof of the existence of a coastal environment in the region.
"In the tectonic interpretation it can be said that a large gap of the Tethys Ocean was consumed along this zone as a result of collision of the Indian plate with the Eurasian plate," the scientists said in their report.
A team of palaeobotanists led by R N Lakhanpal had discovered palm fossils -- Livistona wadiai -- in the 1980s from northeast of Hemis Gompa, a famous Buddhist temple situated about 50 km southeast of Leh.
Palaeobotanists have found fossils of palm trees and even a variety of rhinoceros from the Ladakh region suggesting existence of a coastal environment and later luxuriant vegetation in the area.
Emergence and evolution of Himalaya: reconstructing history in the light of recent studies
K. S. Valdiya
India collided with mainland Asia at 65 Ma. The pressure rose to 9-11 kbar in the collision zone. As the Indian lithosphere bent down and its upper crust buckled up as an upwarp in the period 35-45 Ma, the southern margin of Asia became the water-divide of the Himalayan rivers.
The sea retreated from the Himalayan province by the early Miocene, even as the crust broke up along faults 20-22 million years ago.
ivers carried detritus generated by the denudation of the fast emerging Himalaya and deposited it in the foreland basin which turned fluvial around 23 Ma.
The Himadri then became high enough to cause disruption of wind circulation, culminating in the onset of monsoon. The climate change that followed caused migration of a variety of quadrupeds from Africa and Eurasia, bringing about considerable faunal turnovers in the Siwalik life.
Aerial view of the Eocene-Oligocene Indus Molasse Group
Indus Suture Zone, Ladakh, India. This sequence is interpreted as the
deposits of a paleo-Indus River and shows that the river started to
soon after initial collision and uplift of southern Tibet (Clift et
If the process of
marine sedimentation can be related to the modern mountains and
drainage system then there is hope
that ancient sediments can be used to reconstruct what the mountains
like in the geologic past.
The marine sedimentary record
can be used to reconstruct the erosion of the Himalayas and Tibet since
the start of India-Asia collision.
Schematic diagram showing
the paleogeographic setting and drainage relationships between: (1) the
coastline constituted by the Chitarwata Formation at Zinda Pir Dome, (2) Bugti
Hills within the âœShaigaluâ delta, (3) the Katawaz Block (as referred by
et al. 1994; Haq and Davis 1997), (4) the nascent Owen Fracture Zone, (5) the Chaman Fault Zone, (6) the highlands and forebulge adjacent to the Chitarwata
Coast, and (7) the Indus Fan. Adapted from
Qayyum et al. (2001) with plate
configuration based on ODSN plate tectonic reconstruction model. Abbreviations
are: BH-Bugti Hills; CF-Chaman Fault Zone; EH-Eastern Highlands; K-Katawaz
Block; L-Lut Block; AF-Afghan Block; T- vestigal Tethys; OFZ-Owen Fracture
Zone; SD-Shaigalu Delta; ZP-Zinda Pir Dome.
Â Â The theory of plate tectonics
estimates that the Indian sub-continent has moved 4,400 kilometers northwards
since the close of the Mesozoic era, 140 million years ago. About the Middle
Permian or more than 200 million years ago, an extensive sea stretched
along the latitude presently occupied by the Himalaya. Into this geosynclinal
sea known as the Tethys (daughter of the Ocean) was depostited vast quantities
of sediments from the northern Angara (Eurasian) and southern Gondwana
(Indian) land mass. The Initial mountain building process started seventy
million years ago when the Gondwana plate and Angara plate began to converge
and collide. The sea-bed was folded and raised into longitudinal ridges
and valleys. This Upper Cretaceous uplift was the first spasm of Himalayan
EXAMINING THE HIMALAYAS
by: Claire Zimmerman
1m-years-old footprints found at Margalla Hills
By Sher Baz Khan
ISLAMABAD, July 27: In what appears to be a major discovery, archaeologists have found two over one million years old human footprints preserved on a sandstone at the Margalla Hills.
The Indusians Research Cell, which is working under the supervision of world renowned archaeologist and historian Dr Ahmad Hassan Dani of Taxila Institute of Asian Civilisations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, has made the discovery, which is likely to add a new chapter to the archaeological history and heritage of the federal capital and attract visitors.
Indusians Research Cell started the second phase of the project âœPost-earthquake Explorations of Human Remains in Margalla Hillsâ under the supervision of A.K. Azad.
âœIt has provided a missing link, which was spread of 6 million years. So Potoharmans declared as the grand father of hominid, which evolved from the different stages and reached at the Homo sapiens,â he observes.
This new evidence helps to resolve a longstanding problem concerning the origins of the Pliopithecidae. It was previously considered that specialized pliopithecids migrated into Europe during MN 5, originating from an unknown antecedent and location in Africa. Recognition that the Sihong primates have affinities with pliopithecids, but are more primitive, suggests that the initial differentiation and diversification of the clade may have taken place in Asia rather than Africa.
The associated vertebrate fauna indicates a late early Miocene age (correlating with MN 4, late Orleanian of Europe, âˆ¼ 17-18 Ma), which establishes the Sihong primates as the earliest known catarrhines from Eurasia.
Paleontological investigations at sites in Sihong County, Jiangsu Province, China since 1981 have yielded a sizeable collection of previously undescribed fossil catarrhines from the Xiacaowan Formation. The associated vertebrate fauna indicates a late early Miocene age (correlating with MN 4, late Orleanian of Europe, âˆ¼ 17-18 Ma), which establishes the Sihong primates as the earliest known catarrhines from Eurasia. The fossil primates are assigned to two species: Dionysopithecus shuangouensis Li, 1978 and Platodontopithecus jianghuaiensis Gu & Lin, 1983. Although the new material from Sihong consists mainly of isolated teeth, it does provide important new information on the anatomy of Dionysopithecus and Platodontopithecus that helps to clarify their phylogenetic and taxonomic status. Previous studies have suggested that the Sihong catarrhines might be closely related to the proconsulids from the early Miocene of East Africa. However, with more extensive material available for comparison, the Sihong primates can now be shown to share a number of key derived features with pliopithecids. This new evidence helps to resolve a longstanding problem concerning the origins of the Pliopithecidae. It was previously considered that specialized pliopithecids migrated into Europe during MN 5, originating from an unknown antecedent and location in Africa. Recognition that the Sihong primates have affinities with pliopithecids, but are more primitive, suggests that the initial differentiation and diversification of the clade may have taken place in Asia rather than Africa. The earliest Eurasian catarrhines probably migrated into tropical Asia as part of a major faunal interchange with Africa that occurred during MN 3.