Lonar Impact Crater, India: the Best-Preserved Terrestrial Hypervelocity Impact Crater in a Basaltic Terrain as a Potential Global Geopark
Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences
Lonar Impact Crater is a simple meteorite impact crater carved out on the ~ 65 Ma old Deccan tholeiitic flood basalts. The crater, though scoured in a basaltic terrain, is still preserved in its most pristine form, with a central crater lake. The geomorphology, geochemistry, geochronology, hydrology, geophysical parameters, and structural aspects of Lonar Crater have been explored in detail, but still continue to contribute valid scientific insights into the geology of terrestrial impact craters. Lonar serves as a potential analog site for studying impact cratering on planetary surfaces with basaltic terrains such as the Moon and Mars. Besides being a highly recognizable impact crater in India, the Lonar crater and its hinterland stand out with its archeological relevance and spiritual influence among the people. The numerous temples in and around the crater premises uphold the cultural significance of the region. The crater and adjacent areas are rich in flora and fauna representing a diverse ecosystem in the vastness of the arid Deccan Flood Basalts. Hence, the astrobleme and its surrounding is declared a Ramsar site and is also a protected wildlife sanctuary. The Indian Government has also declared the crater a National Geological Monument as well as an archaeological monument. Furthermore, the astrobleme is a unique site with socio-cultural and economic significance. With these plethoras of importance, combined with the geological and socio-cultural aspects in its hinterland, together with the most acclaimed UNESCO world heritage centers Ajantha and Ellora caves in the neighborhood, it stands as the right candidate for a UNESCO Global Geopark. However, the crater and its ecosystem are not preserved well enough, and the uniqueness of the crater is diminishing. But after selection as a Ramsar site, the area shows increased vegetation growth. The SWOT analysis conducted in this study accounts for Lonar Crater and its adjoining areas as a potential global geopark. Thus, through this study, we try to propagate the vivid and myriad importance of the Lonar crater and the necessity of protecting this geological monument from both anthropogenic and natural processes and to appraise the necessity for nominating this area as a UNESCO Global Geopark.
R. Chandran, S.,
Sajinkumar, K. S.
Lonar Impact Crater, India: the Best-Preserved Terrestrial Hypervelocity Impact Crater in a Basaltic Terrain as a Potential Global Geopark.
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