G. Mahadevan

To map rock formation along coast

Geology students to map onshore rock formationsMapping as part of RIL's hydrocarbon exploration on Kerala--Konkan coastProject to commence this month

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Department of Geology, University of Kerala, has bagged a project for onshore mapping of rock formations along the Kerala-Konkan coast from Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) that is currently engaged in offshore hydrocarbon exploration in the area.

The `student project' involves mapping crystalline rocks and sedimentary rocks to identify `sequences' of sedimentary rocks that are indicative of the presence of oil and hydrocarbon deposits in corresponding locations under the sea. The mapping of these sequences will help RIL decide where to drill for hydrocarbons and how deep to go.

"This project has to be carried out in several selected sites along the Kerala coastline where there is best chance of finding meaningful contact and sedimentological information. The objective is to find out the nature and extent of potential (of) Mesozoic and older rocks which has the relevance in hydrocarbon exploration that is being pursued by Reliance in the Kerala-Konkan basin," reads the letter written by RIL to the department asking it to undertake this project.

V. Prasannakumar, the head of the Department of Geology told The Hindu that RIL officials, who visited the department in November, were impressed by the curriculum and the standard of the theses prepared by students of the M.Sc. Geology programme. "RIL officials had been to other institutions as well. Therefore it gives me great happiness that they found a Department of the University of Kerala fit enough to undertake their project. They were particularly impressed by the mapping training that we provide as part of the M.Sc. Geology programme," he said.

The mapping will be carried out by the students of the Department in several locations along the Kerala-Konkan coast. The exact locations to be mapped will be decided later on. The project is expected to start in January 2006 and will be an integral part of a semester for the students. The mapping is also expected to provide the students valuable exposure and insights into the dynamics of a project of this scale undertaken by an industry major.

Dr. Prasannakumar said he is hopeful that such a collaborative venture with RIL may also open up excellent employment opportunities for the students.