Terrestrial Martian Analog Heritage of Kachchh Basin, Western India

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Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


The Kachchh Basin is a peri-cratonic rift basin in western India, exposing a vast range of diverse geologic features representing the past 200 million years spanning from the Jurassic Period to the recent. The Basin represents highly rugged terrain in the form of the hilly ranges and pediment surfaces, while the flat terrain in the north is expressed by the low-lying Rann and Banni plains (mudflats, marshes, and grassland). This basin has preserved several classical terrestrial analog sites to study planetary science. Several potential localities in the basin provide opportunities to explore as Martian analogs. In the present study, we have proposed five analog sites from the Kachchh basin that has preserved classical geomorphic feature (volcanic and impact craters) as well as minerals (primary phyllosilicates, secondary hydrous sulfates, precipitated iron minerals, evaporite, and liquid brines like perchlorates) that tell the tale of the geological activity taken place on the Mars. The cultural and ecological aspects of the proposed sites and their hinterland are also discussed for the tourist attractions. All the proposed sites have ample geoheritage potential and need strong attention for conservation. Further, the establishment of geoparks and development of geotourism in the proposed area will enhance the Earth and Planetary Sciences scenario apart from boosting of local economy, including helping activities, research funding, and employment opportunities for locals that will play a significant role in the economic development of the region. To achieve such an ambitious program and accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals, these locations should be conserved and extended for geotourism.

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