Geology Current Affairs

CCEA approves survey project of Un-appraised Areas of Sedimentary Basins

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved survey project to acquire 48,243 Line Kilometer (LKM) 2D seismic data for appraisal of Indian sedimentary basins where limited data is available.

Sedimentary basin is a low area in the Earth’s crust, of tectonic origin, in which sediments accumulate. It can range from as small as hundreds of meters to large parts of ocean basins.

India has total 26 sedimentary basins covering area of 3.14 Million Sq Km (MSK) spread over onland, shallow water and deep water. 48% of total sedimentary basin area (about 1.502 MSK) does not have adequate geo-scientific data.

Key Facts

The project will be implemented by Oil India Limited (OIL) and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). Under it, survey work will be carried out in 24 States. OIL will conduct survey in North-Eastern States, while ONGC will cover remaining area. The entire project is likely to be completed by 2019-20.

After appraisal of these sedimentary basins, blocks will be offered for further exploration and production activities based on prospectivity of area. It will help in increasing the investments in domestic production of oil and gas and generate direct and indirect employment.

Significance

The appraisal of all unappraised areas is considered an important task to launch future Exploration and Production (E&P) activities. Data acquisition will provide initial insight into basins and help in planning future E&P activities. It will be useful in deciding focus areas of exploration activities in country and on basis of this primary data, E&P companies will be able take up further exploration activities in acreages allocated to them.

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World’s oldest fossils discovered in Quebec, Canada

Scientists have claimed that they have discovered oldest fossils on Earth in rocks from Quebec, Canada.

Carbon dating techniques suggest that these rocks are at least 3.8 billion years old and might even be 4.3 billion years old.

Key Facts
  • The fossils are tiny and consist of tubes and filaments up to half a millimetre in length and around half the width of a human hair.
  • The fossils are thought to be the remains of bacteria that lived on iron and dwelt around hydrothermal vent systems i.e. mineral rich hot springs on the seafloor.
  • They’re made of haematite, a type of iron oxide (known as rust). Some of the filaments are branched, some resemble loose coils and others appear to be joined to knobs of haematite.
  • These structures were found to contain graphite as well as the minerals apatite and carbonate which are basically associated with biological matter.
  • Iron—oxide granules was also found and in other sections of the rocks, structures such as carbonate rosettes were discovered which might have formed as biological matter broke down.
  • The rocks in which the fossils were found are metamorphic i.e. they have experienced high temperatures and pressures since they were formed.
  • The size and arrangement of the haematite structures indicates that these microbes were breathing oxygen at a time when oxygen is thought to have been scarce.
Significance
  • This discovery supports the idea that life emerged from hot, seafloor vents shortly after planet Earth formed.
  • Thus, provides strong evidence that the first life on Earth and formed around nutrient-rich hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean.
  • It is one of leading theories to show signs of how life spawned on Earth, as opposed to other theories such as panspermia, which suggests that life was deposited by asteroid or other rocky body that crashed into Earth.

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