25-mn-year-old tree rock fossil found in Kasauli

July 24th, 2008 - 11:07 am ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, July 24 (IANS) Geologists here are excited about the discovery of a huge, 25-million-year-old rock fossil of a palm tree in Kasauli town in Himachal Pradesh. The 5.1 by 0.9 meter fossil was standing steadily on a sandstone rock in Jagjit Nagar, Kasauli. This fossil was discovered by a layman and not by any geologist.

“We have found many fossil rocks and leaves in Himachal Pradesh but this is for the first time in the history of the Himalayas that we have found a tree rock fossil of such mammoth dimensions,” A.D. Ahluwalia of Panjab University’s geology department told IANS.

The fossil was detected by Navjot P.S. Randhawa, director of the Government Museum and Art Gallery in Chandigarh, July 5 while passing by the place.

Sensing that it might be a fossil, he contacted his geologist friends in Chandigarh and took Ahluwalia and P.C. Sharma, in charge of the Natural History Museum, Chandigarh, to the actual sight to scrutinise it.

They brought a small piece of the rock to Chandigarh to study it. Some geologists have also hinted at the presence of more such fossils in that area.

“The fossil found there has undergone the process of petrification around 24-25 million years back, a process through which wood is transformed into rock. We cannot transfer that fossil to some other place as it might break on the way, so we have to preserve it at that place,” stated Ahluwalia.

“Our administration should immediately come forward for the rescue of this extraordinary finding as I am afraid someone might break it for construction - something that is rampant in the area, pointed out Ahluwalia.

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