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Geo-heritage sites of Visakhapatnam

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    1st Dec, 2020


  • Efforts are being made to get recognition of a geo park for Visakhapatnam consisting of Erra Matti Dibbalu (red sand dunes).

What is Erra Matti Dibbalu?

  • These are natural rock formations at Mangamaripeta, million-years-old Borra Caves and volcanic ash deposits.
  • They are said to have originated from the volcanic eruption of Toba in Indonesia 73,000 years ago near Araku.
  • Erra Matti Dibbalu or coastal red sediment mounds are located between Visakhapatnam and Bheemunipatnam.
  • This stretch of sandy red dunes is a gift of Nature.
  • The width of the dunes varies from 200 metres to two kilometres, spread across five kilometres along the coast.
  • The red sand sediments of Erra Matti Dibbalu are unconsolidated and loose.

What are geological sites?

  • The term geological heritage is used for natural geological or geo-morphological features that have aesthetic, intrinsic or scientific and educational value, that provide unique insight into geological processes affecting the formation or evolution of Earth
  • Geological sites are a record of important geological phenomenon that is a key to trace the evolutionary history of earth and its changing processes.
  • The natural arch is likely to date back to the period after the last Ice Age around 10,000 years ago and is similar to the natural rock arch of Silathoranam in the Tirumala Hills.
  • Globally, geo parks are sustained through geo tourism activities like excursions, Nature trails, guided tours, hiking and academic meets.
  • Adequate signage and interpretation centres are set up in the area to create awareness among tourists.

Who declares geo-heritage sites in India?

  • Geological Survey of India (GSI) declares geo heritage sites for protection and maintenance.
  • There are 34 National Geological Heritage Monument Sites of India declared by the Geological Survey of India.
  • While there are 147 UNESCO Global geo parks spread across 41 countries, India is yet to have one of its own.

What are the concerns?

  • Every monsoon the sediments are washed away, turning the sea a bright red.
  • Degradation due to human interference such as digging, climbing, littering are affecting their stability and exacerbating erosion.

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