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  • 12 December, 2022

  • 6 Min Read

Coastal Red Sand Dunes

Coastal Red Sand Dunes

Scientists recently urged the Government of Andhra Pradesh to protect the coastal red sand dunes of Visakhapatnam of the glacial period.

Major Points:

  • Visakhapatnam is fortunate to have a number of significant geological sites. One of them is the Erra Matti Dibbalu, or "red sand dunes" of the coast.
  • Location and Extent: The site is situated on the coast, about 20 km to the northeast of Visakhapatnam City and 4 km to the southwest of Bheemunipatnam.
  • 20 sq km is the approximate size of the area where the Erra Matti Dibbalu is located, and the entire area has been designated as a Geo Heritage Site.

About Geo Heritage Site:

  • The Geological Survey of India (GSI) designated this site as a geo-heritage site in 2014, and the Andhra Pradesh government added it to the list of "protected sites" in 2016.
  • This site is geologically, archaeologically, and anthropologically significant, and it should be preserved for future study and evaluation.

Site Individuality:

  • The late quaternary geologic age is represented by the red sediments, which are part of the earth's evolution.
  • They have badland topography with various geomorphic landforms and features, such as gullies, sand dunes, buried channels, beach ridges, paired terraces, the valley in the valley, wave-cut terrace, knick point, and waterfalls.

Shows the real-time consequences of climate change:

  • The sea (Bay of Bengal) was at least 5 kilometres behind the current coastline around 18,500 years ago.
  • Since then, it has been undergoing continuous active changes until approximately 3,000 years ago, and the changes are still ongoing.

Geochemically unchanged:

  • Because the sediments were geochemically unaltered, the top light-yellow sand unit, which is thought to have been deposited around 3,000 years ago, could not achieve the red coloration.
  • These sediments are nonfossiliferous and have been deposited on top of the khondalite basement.
  • The dunes are made up of light yellow sand dunes at the top, a brick red sand unit in the middle, and a reddish brown concretion bearing sand unit with yellow sand at the bottom.
  • The bottom yellow sand unit is fluvial, while the three units above it are aeolian in origin.

The Site's Importance:

  • Examine the effects of climate change, as Erra Matti Dibbalu has lived through both glacial and warm periods.
  • The site is approximately 18,500 to 20,000 years old, can be linked to the last glacial period, and will provide information about the archaeological history.
  • The site is also archaeologically significant, with artifact studies indicating an Upper Palaeolithic horizon and cross dating assigned to the Late Pleistocene epoch, which is 20,000 BC.
  • The site was inhabited by prehistoric man, as excavations in the area revealed stone implements from three distinct periods, as well as Neolithic pottery.
  • Such sand deposits are uncommon and have only been reported from three locations in south Asia's tropical regions: Teri Sands in Tamil Nadu, Erra Matti Dibbalu in Visakhapatnam, and one more in Sri Lanka.
  • They do not occur in equatorial or temperate regions for a variety of scientific reasons, making them geologically significant.

Source: The Hindu

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