Geologists strike seabed ‘treasure’ in Indian waters

Scientists from the Geological Survey of India (GSI) have discovered the presence of millions of tonnes of precious metals and minerals deep under the waters within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of peninsular India.

They have confirmed the presence large amount of lime mud, phosphate-rich and calcareous sediments, hydrocarbons, metalliferous deposits and micronodules. They believe that deeper and more extensive exploration could lead to a larger treasure trove. The presence of lime mud, phosphate-rich sediments was discovered off Karwar, Mangalore and Chennai coasts, gas hydrate in the channel-levee system of Mannar Basin off the Tamilnadu coast, icro-manganese nodules around Lakshadweep Sea and cobalt-bearing ferromanganese crust from the Andaman Sea.

GSI for first time had identified huge presence of marine resources off Mangaluru, Mannar Basin, Chennai, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and around Lakshadweep in early 2014. After three years of exploration, it had generated 181,025 square kilometres of high-resolution seabed morphological data and established the occurrence of more than 10,000 million tonnes of lime mud within the EEZ of India. GST had carried out the ‘High Resolution Seabed Mapping and Natural Resource Evaluation’ using three state-of-the-art research vessels — Samudra Ratnakar, Samudra Kaustubh and Samudra Saudikama. The main objective of the survey was to identify potential zones of favourable mineralisation and evaluate marine mineral resources.

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