Ever since Steven Spielberg’s film Jurassic Park hit the screens in 1983, people across the globe have been enamoured by the world of dinosaurs. The inquisitiveness increased with every sequel, captivating the audience from all segments, especially the children.
On Saturday, the children from many schools in the city experienced that age when the dinosaurs roamed the world freely, including in India. They were treated to the world of fossils at the Department of Geology, Andhra University, in an exhibition organised by the department in association with INTACH, Vizag Chapter. The exhibition was organised as part of the UNESCO’S International Geodiversity Day.
Kandula Venkatesh, a fossil collector and numismatist, who exhibited a dinosaur egg fossil, held the young minds in awe. A few even wanted to touch it.
Explaining the fossil find, he said that it was found in Gujarat and the twin eggs belonged to a giant Sauropoda, a dinosaur species that once existed in India.
He explained to the students that the eggs grew to a size weighing around 6 to 7 kg and a newborn would have been the size of a full-grown goose. And we said that this herbivore dinosaur would grow to the size of about 33 mt and weigh around 16 tonnes, their jaws dropped in sheer admiration.
Not only dinosaur eggs, but fossilised fishes and leaves and tree barks, also adorned the exhibition. The expo also showcased a fossilised Trilobite, an extinct marine arthropod. This specimen was fossilised about 580 million years ago, said D. Rajasekhar Reddy, convenor of INTACH, Visakhapatnam.
The exhibition not only focussed on fossils, there were also sections showcasing different rocks from various ‘rock families’ such as igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic.
Adjunct Professor of the Department, A.Y. Yugandhar Rao, explained how rocks are formed over millions of years and how they are formed under heavy pressure and temperature.
Showcasing sedimentary rocks such as limestone, sandstone and shale, he explained how over millions of years, a shale metamorphose to slate, limestone to marble and sandstone to quartzite.
He also explained why the top sand in some parts of the beaches are black and said that such sand is rich in minerals such as titanium or ilmenite.
He said that beaches contain large quantities of different rich minerals ilmenite, zircon and monazite and many of them have radioactive properties, which are now being mined for the atomic and nuclear industry.
According to him, the 975-kilometre-long coastline of Andhra Pradesh is one of the mineral-rich coastlines. Almost one-third of the minerals found across India, can be found along the AP coastline, and north Andhra coastline has the richest deposit of minerals, he said.
According to Prof. Rajasekhar Reddy, the exhibition was organised to create awareness on the importance of geodiversity among the children.