Salkhan Fossil Park of India

Khursheed Dinshaw (India) The Salkhan Fossil Park is located in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. Spread over 25 hectares, it is an important geoheritage site for stromatolites. These stromatolites were identified by Professor RC Misra and Professor S Kumar of the University of Lucknow. Fig. 1. Salkhan stromatolites formed during Mesoproterozoic. Fig. 2. Stromatolites identified by Professor RC Misra and Professor S Kumar. Stromatolites are layered sedimentary formations created largely by photosynthetic microorganisms, such as cyanobacteria and sulfate-reducing bacteria. These produce sticky compounds that cement sand and other rocky materials to form mineral “microbial mats”, which slowly build up, layer by layer, over time, such that a stromatolite may grow to a meter or more in size. They are extremely rare today, but famous examples can be seen at in Shark Bay in Western Australia, where the hyper-saline conditions prevent predators from consuming them, as they would in more normal marine conditions. Fig. 3. Stromatolites at the Salkhan Fossil Park. Fig. 4. Stromatolites at the geoheritage site in Uttar Pradesh. The stromatolites at Salkhan Fossil Park were formed during Mesoproterozoic, which is a geological era lasting from 1,600 to 1,000 million years ago (Figs. 1, 2, 3 and 4) and are remnants of cyanobacterial life cycle. Fig. 5. Stromatolites made of calcium carbonate and silicates. Fig. 6. Remnants of cyanobacterial life cycle. The stromatolites of the fossil park are made of silicates and calcium carbonate (Figs. 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9).They are preserved in fawn-coloured limestone, and … Read More

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