Seven fossil sites discovered in south Kashmir

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Achabal: After the discovery of a gigantic fossil site by two nature lovers at Aharbal area of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, the spate of discoveries for fossils have gained momentum as at least 07 more fossil sites have been discovered at various locations in South Kashmir.

Notably, the fossil sites have been discovered by two nature lovers namely Manzoor Javaid and Dr Rouf Hamza.

Talking to Kashmir News Service (KNS), Dr Rouf said that one of the fascinating sites was discovered at Dadrein area of Damhall Hanjipora on 19 September by the team of nature lovers, who also included Mohammad Yousuf Ganie and Parvaiz Sajjad who works as lecturers in the education Department.

He said that the site got recognised due the construction of a link road to Dadrein Village.

He said that while scouting for fossil samples on 16 September they came across a site at HaalKhah-Tsuntihal junction in Chittergull area which is rich in plant fossils diversity and petrified wood.

“Several bark imprints were found in the area. In fact, the whole area is a Petrified Wood Forest which could be millions of years old. Abdul Aleem Wani, a local teacher was accompanying the team while the discovery was made,” Rouf added.

He further said that the site is located at a distance of about 30 Kilometres from Anantnag town and is probably the first site where petrified wood has been reported in such a huge quantity.

“Another site having rich Ichnofossils of varied types, Brachiopods, Bivalves, Pisolites, Stromatolites, Piddock borings and other unidentified fossils was discovered by the duo on 31 September above the stone quarries in Achabal Forest area,” he said.

He said that when their team moved ahead towards Zaji Marg, similar fossils were found and in addition to this, Zajimarg seems to be a rich repository of some rare fossils which could not be studied intensively due to low visibility on that day.

“During the visit to the adjacent Nagwan area of Dadrein Village, it was found that ancient broken terracotta pottery is frequently visible near the shrine of Hazrat Mir Syed Ali Simnani which is an indication that this site is of archaeological importance as well. The site, according to the locals was an ancient human settlement,” Rouf informed.

He said that while on a nature study camp conducted for the students of government higher secondary school Dethu at Chattapal on 25 August, a number of fossils were seen which include Brachiopods, Bivalves, Piddock Rock borings, a bone of some unknown animal, Stromatolites, Fossilized waves on rocks, plant fossils etc.

He said that in addition to this, several fossil specimens of Arthropods, Ichinofossils specimen, worm castings, bivalves etc. were seen in the Achabal Wildlife Sanctuary near Mughal Garden. “This site was discovered on 30 August. Floriculture Officer, Asif Ahmad Itoo was also accompanying the team.”

He said that a rich and interesting site of great geological importance with exquisite geological formations and remnants of volcanic activity was found in Dethu area of Shangus on 18 October. “The site is replete with hundreds of fossil remains of diverse nature which got exposed due to weathering, quarrying activity and subsequent erosion.”

Notably, a simple unveiling ceremony and press briefing was held at Achabal, Chhatapal and Deethu today, where team leader, Manzoor Javaid said that the exploratory work will continue with same zeal not only for fossil study but in other fields of science and technology.

He said that about 10 Nature Walk-Fossil Talk programmes have been conducted for the students of various districts of North and South Kashmir.

Dr Rouf Hamza, on the occasion said that the department of Geology, Universities, the Department of Education, Tourism Department and other concerned agencies must work collaboratively to bring Kashmir on Geo-tourism map of the world.

He said that a superficial observation of these sites reveals that hundreds of fossils are visible at these sites without any need for excavation. (KNS)

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