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Watch | How quarrying is destroying the fossil treasures oh Khonmoh in Kashmir – Mrit News

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A video on the fossil treasures of the Khonmoh rage being destroyed by Kashmir’s cement industry

A video on the fossil treasures of the Khonmoh rage being destroyed by Kashmir’s cement industry

Khonmoh, a village in Kashmir, is a treasure trove of fossils from the Tethys sea.

But these fossils are at a risk of getting lost.

Quarrying is erasing this invaluable geological heritage.

The Khonmoh range is a stone’s throw away from the Zabarwan hills which can be seen from Srinagar.

Not many people visit these rocky slopes. Rock collectors and geology enthusiasts and experts are seen here

Since the first discovery of specimens from the Triassic period in the late 1800s, this place has been a hotspot for experts and students alike.

These are fossils of marine life, millions of years old. The Guryul ravine in Khonmoh is said to have witnessed one of the largest mass extinction events 252 million years ago.

The fossil beds of the Zeewan-Khonmoh belt were formed when Kashmir was still submerged under the Tethys Sea. The Himalayas were also born out of this sea.

There are Geological records from the Permian period which was millions of years even before Dinosaurs existed.

The site also bears evidence of the Permian-Triassic extinction event, also known as the Great Dying.

Primordial corals, small invertebrates, plants and a group of mammal-like reptiles known as therapsids were prominent during this period.

70-90% of these species were wiped out. Research suggests that it was as a result of global warming and lack of oxygen.

Preservation of this region is crucial to understand evolution, extinction, geology, geochemistry and more.

But researchers have warned that Kashmir’s expanding cement industry in the last two decades has crushed fossils to cement.

The Environmental Policy Group (EPG), an umbrella group of environmentalists and civil society members, are trying to save whatever remains of these treasures from the past.

Now, the ball has been set rolling to turn this site into a fossil park.

An MoU was signed in 2018 between the Penn Dixie Fossil Park in the U.S. and EPG to support the setting up of the fossil park.

This could be a ray of hope for students, tourists and geology enthusiasts who will get access to the remnants of the mega geological event.

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