Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mystery of Orbs ?

Is it a dust pollution or some biological or organic charged particle?
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi

 Two orbs are seen in the above picture.

The term orb describes unexpected, typically circular artifacts that occur in flash photography—sometimes with trails indicating motion—especially common with modern compact and ultra-compact digital cameras. Many people capture illuminated, circular spots in their photographs. These spots are commonly known as orbs.

Having been a photographer for 30 years, I’ve experienced all kinds of flaws, defects and other apparitions on my negatives and now digital images.  Most have been identified or at the least, understood to be some kind of image pollution ranging from light leaks, lens flares, dust, fog or other type of atmospheric condition.  Since the advent of digital imaging however, there is a new phenomenon called “orbs” that are appearing in increasing numbers on many photographer’s images today.

I started to become aware of orbs appearing in my pictures and I didn't know what they were at first. These orbs were caught in Ranchi on my rooftop, in the street etc. Surprisingly very few Orbs were found in street compared to sky or on roof top. In a forest area near to road there was no orbs found.  Some people explain orbs as light reflected off surrounding surfaces; some explain them as light reflected off dust particles; and some explain them as spirits or other entities normally invisible to the human eye.

The “orbs” that people “catch” are usually water vapor, dust, lens reflection (or any reflection actually), pollen or bugs. Orbs are the most commonly found anomaly in spirit photography, as well as on video. As all paranormal investigators and skeptics know, there are many natural elements that can appear to be orbs in photographs - Things such as dust, pollen and other airborne particles, rain, snow, moisture and even humidity. Rain and snow are simple to distinguish from orbs in photographs. Some say that orbs have many names including globes, globules, balls of light, and hovering round balls. They appear in all ranges of brightness from bright-&-glowing to faded-&-barely-visible. Others say that its marsh gas, static electrical activity; or other point light sources such as a glowing cigarette, fireflies, glow worms, flashlight reflections etc. They are usually quite fast and follow an erratic pattern of flight. Little research has been done on this phenomenon.

Above figures show good amount of orbs in the sky.
In the above figure only few orbs are seen near to earth compared to the sky.

 I started doing research on these orbs keeping in mind that it’s related to dust pollution. I got surprising results. I tried to create dust pollution by making fire using some dried woods and papers. When I clicked my camera to my surprise there were only two to three orbs in the air. Is it possible that even burning of woods and papers in good amount there will be very few dust pollution? When I used my camera in my rooms there were no orbs found. This means that my house is completely free of dust pollution? Other big question is that why all the orbs which my camera captured were few near to the earth compared to sky. Even they were found in some good amount near the dense trees when we know that trees works as a good absorbent of dust pollution. We suggest people residing near by highways or mining areas to plant more trees to minimize dust pollution. If these orbs are really dust pollution then planting trees is not going to help to absorb dust pollution. All the orbs which I captured where in good amount high in the sky than compared near to the earth. In some areas it was totally absent. 

To see the minute structure of dust particle we need electron microscope. If you see the dust particles through electron microscope it will show different structures not like orbs as it is shown below. I am sure these orbs are some energized or charged particles but not dust particles.

 See how the dust particles look in electron microscope in the above figure.

Experts say that the orbs are also found due to the water molecules, rain drops in the air. I took most of the photographs in the month of March in my city when it’s a dry and hot with no rainfall. Then how it’s possible that orbs were seen in the air?

I also tried to monitor their movement with the help of my infrared camera. Sometimes they were found floating randomly in the air and sometimes in particular direction. Many times I have also seen these orbs moving in very slow motion. How it’s possible that when there is no wind movement these orbs were found moving upwards against the gravitational pull? Any dust pollution has the tendency to settle down in absence of wind or during rainfall. 

Colors in particles always indicate impurities or pollution or due to presence of metals in the particles. In my pictures many orbs were colorful from blue to golden yellow. This means that these orbs are highly toxic for humans. But to my knowledge metal pollution or other pollution is only there where this continuous combustion of fuel, chemical processes, active mining areas, disturbing the soil during agricultural activity, volcanic eruption or some metal producing industries.  I took all my photographs either in open grass land or forest area where the air pollution are at their lower level  or in my house far away from highway or factories. 

 In the above picture only few orbs are seen in the garden

No orbs are seen here beside the road.

 In the above picture orbs are seen but in remote area outside Ranchi.

 No orbs are seen here in the forest area beside highway.

 Here also no orbs are seen. This forest area is also near highway.

 But on the same highway few kms towards Ranchi orbs are seen.

Ok, is it aerosols? We know that the air that we breath every day is primarily composed of gas molecules, but it also contains a large variety of suspended solid and liquid particles. These particles in suspension in the atmosphere are called aerosols. Aerosols are present in many aspects of our daily life.

Or it’s a fly ash? In an industrial context, fly ash usually refers to ash produced during combustion of coal. Fly ash is generally captured by electrostatic precipitators or other particle filtration equipment before the flue gases reach the chimneys of coal-fired power plants, and together with bottom ash removed from the bottom of the furnace is in this case jointly known as coal ash. But as I told you earlier all these photographs were taken far away from such industries which generate fly ash. Also simple camera cannot take the pictures of fly ash. We need electron microscope to see the clear image of fly ash.

One theory says that it’s a ball of energy. Other theory says that its bugs or condensation. These two elements are very reflective and produce a vibrant orb because there is more surface area to bounce the light off of.  Bugs have exoskeletons which are usually shiny. Water is very reflective in nature. Some say its pollen grains.
 Orbs are seen here around Ashok Tree which acts as a good dust absorbent.

According to me, its not just dust particle. It’s something else like some biological or organic charged particle. They use their self generated energy to float around in the atmosphere. I have seen their movement in an open space with my infra red camera. They sometimes move upwards sometimes move in particular direction and sometimes randomly. They rarely collide with each other.  

Many theories have come forward on the mysteries of orbs. But the question still remains, what is orbs?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dome gneiss hill near Ranchi city of India.

It is formed mainly by weathering and erosion.

Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi

Above pictures are of Dome gneiss hill. This typical dome-gneiss (locally known as dongris) 26 km from Ranchi on Ranchi-Bundu highway (850 27longitude and 230 14latitude) has slopes on all sides (the average inclination being about 40 degree to 50 degree). There is little soil but oozing moisture from rock foliae supports tuft grass except the entirely bare rocky surfaces.

A dome is a curved formation or structure. It is shaped like half of a sphere. Imagine cutting an orange in half, and placing it cut-side-down on a table. This is the shape of a dome, although most domes in nature are not perfectly rounded.

Some natural domes develop when magma from deep within the Earth pushes up surface rock layers. This type of geologic dome can form as magma intrudes between two layers of sedimentary rock. The magma creates a dome or triangle shape as it pushes the other layers apart. The hardened magma that forms this type of dome is called laccolith.

Another kind of dome is shaped primarily by weathering and erosion, which cause curved sheets of rock to separate from a large rock mass.

The dome shaped hill near Ranchi is formed mainly by weathering and erosion.

The Chotanagpur plateau region is made up mainly of Precambrian rocks but has witnessed uplifts synchronously with the Himalayan uplift in the Cenozoic. Chotanagpur plateau of Jharkhand is quoted as a typical example of domal plateau because it is studded with numerous batholithic domes which were intruded in the Dharwarian sedimentaries during Archaean period. Prolonged denudation has removed the superincumbent Dharwarian covers and these batholithic domes have been exposed on the surface.

The European geographers who attended the ‘symposium on erosion surface’ in 1968 at Ranchi felt that Chotanagpur was a fossil or dead erosion surface. There were pediments in the region during the past more arid climate. Now the climate had changed to more humid one. This has caused so much production of weathered waste in conjunction with hot climate, that the sediments were more than what could be cleared by the transporting process (mainly running water). Thus the earlier pediments and bedrock were concealed under the debris and sediment.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fuller’s earth mining in Pakur district in Jharkhand State of India.

Bentonite may have played a major role in Fuller’s earth formation.
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi

 Fig. Mining of Fuller's earth.
 Fig. Fuller's earth.
 Fig. Mining area.
Fig. Bentonite.

Pakur  is located in the north east corner of Jharkhand State of India. Major part of the district is characterized by undulating topography covered by basaltic flows of Rajmahal Trap. Fuller’s earth mining is limited up to a shallow depth only and it is done manually. Most of the Fuller’s earth is send to local market of Pakur and neighboring state of West Bengal. Local villagers have the ownership of the mining and the profit is distributed among them. Fuller’s earth is mainly of sedimentary origin. It occurs interstratified with geologically late sands and clays. It is thought that most fuller’s earth originated from volcanic ash. Montmorillonite and attapulgite are the principal constituents, and montmorillonite is characteristic of bentonite. There is further suggestion that it was derived from bentonite by natural leaching in surface water, assisted perhaps by plant acids and bacteria.

Pakur  is located in the north east corner of Jharkhand State: at 23°40' to 25°18' latitude and 86°25' to 87°57' E. longitude. Pakur is bordered by Sahibganj district in North, Dumka district in South, Godda district in West and Murshidabad and Birbhum districts (of the West Bengal) in the East. Pakur has an area of about 696 square kilometres and a population of 899,200 (2011 Census). Pakur, famous for stone and Beedi (Biri) making industry, is one of the important revenue-earning districts of newly created Jharkhand State. Its black stone chips have got Asiatic fame in constructional qualities.Pakur was earlier a Sub-Division of Santhal Parganas district of Jharkhand.

Major part of the district is characterized by undulating topography covered by basaltic flows of Rajmahal Trap. The main geomorphological features of the district are the rolling peneplain in the south with numerous remnants of ancient ridges and resistant lava plateau of Rajmahal. These plateaus rise above the general level and occupy major part of the district. The general elevation of the hills and plateau varies from 70 to 371 m above MSL.

Rajmahal Trap is the major rock type in the district. The other geological formations of the district are alluvium, laterite and gondwana. In the eastern part of the district, recent alluvium occurs in patches, which is mainly composed of sand and sub ordinate clay. Laterites are mainly of in situ origin and have been formed by sub-aerial erosion of underlying basalts under favorable climatic conditions. Laterites provide a productive ground water  reservoir due to their very porous and permeable nature. The most significant  Barakar coal measures of Gondwana formation occurs in western part of the district.

The district of Santhal Paraganas is mainly a dissected upland of ancient crystalline rocks which are covered with thick flows of volcanic lava. The ancient crystalline rocks, collectively called the Archaean gneisses, cover the greater part of the district. The principal rock is a granitoid gneiss earlier known as the Bengal gneiss.

Fuller’s earth ( commonly known as Multani soil) mining is limited up to a shallow depth only and it is done manually. Most of the Fuller’s earth is send to local market of Pakur and neighboring state of West Bengal. Local villagers have the ownership of the mining and the profit is distributed among them.

Fuller’s earth is a variety of clay, so named because it has been used by fullers to full, or remove grease from cloth. Its marked absorptive powers, however, have caused it to be more widely used to filter and decolor oils, fats, and greases.

The dominant use (about 70 percent) of fuller’s earth is in petroleum refining for filtering and clarifying petroleum products, mainly lubricants, and about 10 percent is utilized in the refining of vegetable oils and animal fats. Its use is growing in domestic water purification. It also removes putrescence, odors, and even coliform bacteria from oily waste waters.

In oil refining, colored oils passed through fuller’s earth come out colorless. In addition, it removes naphtha gum, and improves the sludge and carbon content, acidity, and viscosity of lubricating oils. It removes color, odor, and taste from vegetable and animal oils. Fuller’s earth cannot be reused after filtering vegetable oils.

Minor uses include printing, abrasives, detection of coloring agents in food products, filler, and cosmetics. Fuller’s earth is a clay substance that is hugely popular for its healing property against acne and blemishes.  It is very rich in magnesium chloride which helps to reduce acne.  In oil refining fuller’s earth is being displaced by activated bentonite.

Fuller’s earth is mainly of sedimentary origin. It occurs interstratified with geologically late sands and clays. It is thought that most fuller’s earth originated from volcanic ash. Montmorillonite and attapulgite are the principal constituents, and montmorillonite is characteristic of bentonite. There is further suggestion that it was derived from bentonite by natural leaching in surface water, assisted perhaps by plant acids and bacteria. Ash deposited in situ becomes bentonite; that which is gradually washed in, with leaching of grain surfaces, become fullers earth. Extended weathering of fuller’s earth may yield Kaolin.


Bateman, A.M. 1955. Economic mineral deposit. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Geology of Dasam Falls in Ranchi district of Jharkhand State, India.

 The Dassam Fall is a natural cascade across the Kanchi River.
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi

A waterfall is a place where water flows over a vertical drop in the course of a stream or river. Waterfalls are also called cascades. Waterfalls are commonly formed when a river is young. At these times the channel is often narrow and deep. When the river courses over resistant bedrock, erosion happens slowly, while downstream the erosion occurs more rapidly. As the watercourse increases its velocity at the edge of the waterfall, it plucks material from the riverbed. Whirlpools created in the turbulence as well as sand and stones carried by the watercourse increase the erosion capacity. This causes the waterfall to carve deeper into the bed and to recede upstream. Often over time, the waterfall will recede back to form a canyon or gorge downstream as it recedes upstream, and it will carve deeper into the ridge above it.

The process of erosion, the wearing away of earth, plays an important part in the formation of waterfalls. Waterfalls themselves also contribute to erosion.

Often, waterfalls form as streams flow from soft rock to hard rock. This happens both laterally (as a stream flows across the earth) and vertically (as the stream drops in a waterfall). In both cases, the soft rock erodes, leaving a hard ledge over which the stream falls.

Erosion is just one process that can form waterfalls. A waterfall may form across a fault, or crack in the Earth’s surface. An earthquake, landslide, glacier, or volcano may also disrupt stream beds and help create waterfalls. 

Running water always erodes rock, but some rocks are more resistant than others. So a waterfall occurs when geological forces have produced either a sudden change in rock types or a steepening of a gradient where a stream is flowing. With a break in elevation, a stream or river becomes a waterfall.

The Dassam Falls  (also known as Dassam Ghagh) is a waterfall located near Taimara village in Bundu police station of Ranchi district in the Indian state of Jharkhand. Scenery around the falls is very much beautiful. Tourists visiting the Dasham falls get fascinated after viewing the scenery and glory of the place. Tourists from all over India come to visit this beautiful place, which must form an integral part of your Jharkhand itinerary. Natural beauty of the place attracts visitors throughout the year. Tourists can enjoy bathing in the stream, but they are advised to be cautious while taking a dip in the stream.
Dassam means ten. Since ages and till today, whenever the waterfall is seen, ten streams of water can be seen falling. Hence, the name is given. The Dassam Falls is a natural cascade across the Kanchi River, a tributary of the Subarnarekha River. The water falls from a height of 44 metres (144 ft). The sound of water echoes all around the place. Dassam Falls at one of the edges of the Ranchi plateau is one of the many scarp falls in the region.

The Dassam Falls is an example of a nick point caused by rejuvenation. Knick point, also called a nick point or simply nick, represents breaks in slopes in the longitudinal profile of a river caused by rejuvenation. The break in channel gradient allows water to fall vertically giving rise to a waterfall.

Geology of Chota Nagpur Plateau:

The Chota Nagpur Plateau is a plateau in eastern India, which covers much of Jharkhand state as well as adjacent parts of Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar and Chhattisgarh. The Indo-Gangetic plain lies to the north and east of the plateau, and the basin of the Mahanadi River lies to the south. The Chotanagpur Plateau (22°-25° 30'N and 83°47'-87° 50'E) covering an area of 87,239 sq. km includes Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Singhbhum, Dhanbad, Palamau, Santhal Parganas (Jharkhand) and Purulia dis­tricts (West Bengal). It is composed of Archaean granite and gneiss rocks with patches of Dharwar rocks (phyllite, mica-schists).
The Chota Nagpur Plateau of Jharkhand state is a continental plateau - an extensive area of land thrust above the general land. The plateau has been formed by continental uplift from forces acting deep inside the earth. The Gondwana substrates attest to the plateau's ancient origin. It is part of the Deccan Plate, which broke free from the southern continent during the Cretaceous to embark on a 50-million-year journey that was violently interrupted by the northern Eurasian continent. The northeastern part of the Deccan Plateau, where this ecoregion sits, was the first area of contact with Eurasia.

Chotanagpur consists of a series of plateaus standing at different levels of elevation; the highest general elevation of about 1100 m in the mid-west­ern portion known as the Pat lands. From here the land descends in all directions in a series of steps particularly towards the east until it merges gradu­ally with the Lower Ganga Plain. The sharp break in slope are marked by steep scarps where the rivers like Barakar, Damodar, Subamarekha north and south Koels have carved out deep gorges and water­falls. The most characteristic features of relief are revealed in the Hazaribag and Ranchi plateaus standing at same general elevation (600 m) but separated by the Damodar trough (Permo-Triassic trough fault).

Water falls of Ranchi plateau.

It is the largest part of the Chota Nagpur Plateau. The elevation of the plateau land in this part is about 700 metres (2,300 ft) above mean sea level. The general topography is undulating. The Ranchi plateau gradually slopes down towards south-east into the hilly and undulating region of Singhbhum (earlier Singhbhum district or what is now Kolhan division. The plateau is highly dissected. Damodar River originates here and flows through a rift valley. To the north it is separated from the Hazaribagh plateau by the Damodar trough.To the west is a group of plateaux called pat.

There are many waterfalls at the edges of Ranchi plateau where rivers coming from over the plateau surface form waterfalls when they descend through the precipitous escarpments of the plateau and enter the area of significantly lower height. The North Karo River has formed a 17 metres (56 ft) high Pheruaghaugh Falls at the southern margin of Ranchi plateau. Such falls are called scarp falls. Hundru Falls (75 m) on Subarnarekha River near Ranchi, Dassam Falls (44 m) on Kanchi River, east of Ranchi, Sadni Falls (60 m) on Sankh River (Ranchi plateau) are examples of scarp falls. Sometimes waterfalls of various dimensions are formed when tributary streams join the master stream from great height forming hanging valleys. At Rajrappa (10 m), the Bhera river coming over from the Ranchi plateau hangs above the Damodar River at its point of confluence with the latter. The Jonha Falls (25.9 m) is another example of this category of falls. In fact the Gunga River hangs over its master stream, Raru River (to the east of Ranchi city) and forms the said falls.

Formation of Waterfalls in Ranchi Plateau.

The waterfalls of Ranchi plateau including Dasam falls are due to disturbances in late geological age. The Ranchi plateau (or the whole of Peninsular India) believed to have undergone uplift as the side effects of the Himalayan orogeny particularly during the late Tertiary. As the streams descend they are marked by waterfalls.

The Chotanagpur Plateau is made up mainly of Precambrian rocks but has witnessed uplifts synchronously with Himalayan uplift in the Cenozoic.

Some times, waterfalls of varying dimensions are formed when the tributary streams join their master streams from great height forming hanging valleys. In other words, hanging valley falls are formed when the level of the junction of the tributary streams is much higher than the level of the main valley of the master stream. The Rajrappa falls ( 10 m.) at the junction of the Bhera river and the receiving Damodar river (located to the north of Ranchi city) is a typical example of hanging valley waterfalls as the Bhera river after coming from over the Ranchi Plateau hangs above the Damodar river as its confluence with the latter. The Gautamdhara or Johna falls ( 25.9 m.) is another example of this category of falls. In fact, the Gunga river hangs above its master stream, Raru river, ( to the east of Ranchi city) and forms the said falls.

Some falls of Ranchi plateau comes under knick point falls. The breaks in channel gradient caused by rejuvenation are called knick points or heads of rejuvenation. These breaks in channel gradient or knick points denote sudden drops of elevation in the longitudinal profile of the rivers and allow the water to fall down vertically giving birth to waterfalls of varying dimensions. Hundru falls ( 76.67 m) on Subarnarekha river ( near Ranchi city), Johna or Gautamdhara falls at the confluence of Raru and Gunga rivers (to the east of Ranchi). Dasam falls ( 39.62 m and 15. 24 m ) on Kanchi river (east of Ranchi) are the examples of knickpoint falls.

Geology of Dasam falls:

Surface rocks surrounding the area are highly smooth. This is due to abrasion. Abrasion is the mechanical scraping of a rock surface by friction between rocks and moving particles during their transport by wind, glacier, waves, gravity, running water or erosion. This phenomenon is active there from millions of years.

Ptygmatic folding of quartzo-feldspathic veins are prominent on the Precambrian (granite-gneiss) rocks of the area.

The ptygmatic folding term is now used essentially for highly contorted quartzo-feldspathic veins found in areas of intense metamorphism and granitisation. Their origin has been a matter of controversy, two different theories have been put forward 1.the veins were originally intruded as flat sheets and the folding is due to deformation of the host rock. 2. Folding took place during the process of injection, which occurred under special circumstances.

It is possible to demonstrate experimentally that material being injected into a weaker host material will develop ptygmatic folding, if it encounters a more rigid mass. This is clearly what happens when ptygmatic veins are formed in granitised or migmatic materials.

 Fig. Ptygmatic folding in rocks of Dasam falls.

Fig. Quartzo-feldspathic intrusion.

Fig. Faulting in the rocks of Dasam Falls.

There are also many potholes in the rocks of  Dasam falls area. Potholes are the kettle-like depressions in the rocky bed of streams. The stream beds in Ranchi plateau are frequently dotted with potholes. Potholes are due to localized drilling action of rock fragments. Where there is an originally minor depression the water of the stream will undergo swirling and the dancing rock fragments will grind against the side and bottom of the depression which will undergo gradual enlargement in perimeter and depth.

  Fig. Potholes in the rocks of Dasam Falls.

Potholes develop particularly in coarse-grained rocks like sandstone or weathered granite
( as in Dasam Falls). In recently uplifted areas like Dasam falls the supply of the boulders or angular rock fragments encourages potholing. The original minor depression could result from local lithological weakness of the rock or joint intersection or the erosion of a local rock piece. The hollow begins to arrest rock fragments.

Ahmad, E. 1985. Geomorphology. Kalyani Publishers, New Delhi.

Mahadevan, T.M. 2002. Geology of Bihar and Jharkhand. Geological Society of India, Bangalore.

Singh, S. 1994. Physical Geography. Prayag Pustak Bhawan, Allahabad, India.