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Meghalaya ecstatic after being etched in geological history permanently

Scientists have found the clearest chemical signal for a transition into the Meghalayan age in the stalagmite formations rising from the cave floor in Mawmluh cave near Cherrapunji, that indicate that the new age began 4200 years ago.

india Updated: Jul 19, 2018 23:58 IST
Hindustan Times, Shillong
Meghalayan age,Meghalaya,Geological history
Indian villagers watch as Pnar, or Jaintia, tribesmen carry traditional Raths or chariots during events to mark the Behdienkhlam festival in Tuber village in Meghalaya on July 19.(AFP Photo)

Meghalaya woke up ecstatic on Thursday that its name is now an indelible part of the current age. For a state of just a little over 22,000 sq km to have its name appended to a geological age is simply unbelievable.

The latest conversation piece is the classification of a phase of earth’s history as ‘Meghalayan age’ as ratified by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) after reports of a detailed research and studies were submitted to it for approval by an international team of geologists. Scientists have found the clearest chemical signal for a transition into the Meghalayan age in the stalagmite formations rising from the cave floor in Mawmluh cave near Cherrapunji, that indicate that the new age began 4200 years ago.

A portion of stalagmite is now a Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP), an internationally-agreed boundary marker for a geological phase, the first formally ratified GSSP in India.

Chief minister of Meghalaya, Conrad Sangma said, “I think this is a very proud moment for everybody in Meghalaya. It’s a global phenomenon where the history of the earth and humanity is named after Meghalaya,” adding in fact we can proudly say, we are living in our age.” Sangma, who’s in Delhi along with his tourism minister Metbah Lyngdoh to submit proposals to the Union tourism ministry for development of tourism in Meghalaya felt that a very important aspect, however, is the preservation of the vast cave systems in the state.

“We need to have the right policies in place so that we protect these caves. It’s a very serious issue and we as a government are very concerned about it and we will be taking necessary steps,” he assured while revealing that the state government may approach “necessary agencies” to facilitate world heritage site recognition for the Mawmluh cave.

Brian Daly Kharpran, founding member of Meghalaya Adventurers’ Association (MAA) and a recipient of the prestigious Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award in 2002 said, “What we need most immediately is a clear commitment by the government to check rampant acts of illegal limestone mining.” MAA along with a team of 30 cavers from Europe discovered the world’s longest sandstone cave ‘Krem Puri’ at Laitsohum village, Mawsynram which measured 24.583km. In fact, fossils of dinosaurs, that lived 70 to 66 million years ago, were also discovered.

First Published: Jul 19, 2018 23:58 IST