Saturday, September 26, 2009

Does water really exists on the Moon surface?

It is very early to predict about water on the moon.
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi
Fig.1. Image Credit: ISRO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Brown Univ./USGS

Answer may be No! The tests on moon rock that has reached earth, either from meteorites or from rock brought back by astronauts, have brought a new meaning to the word dry!

NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper, an instrument on the Indian Space Research Organization's Chandrayaan-1 mission, took this image of Earth's moon. It is a three-color composite of reflected near-infrared radiation from the sun, and illustrates the extent to which different materials are mapped across the side of the moon that faces Earth.Small amounts of water were detected on the surface of the moon at various locations. This image illustrates their distribution at high latitudes toward the poles.Blue shows the signature of water, green shows the brightness of the surface as measured by reflected infrared radiation from the sun and red shows an iron-bearing mineral called pyroxene.
It is giant leap for India’s space programme and the biggest scientific discovery of the 21st century. India’s maiden moon mission, Chandryaan-1 has found water, a discovery that scientists say will up-end thinking about space and boost research.
The first object in the night sky most of us ever saw, the Moon remains a mystery. Haunted by poets, looked upon by youngsters in love, studied intensely by astronomers for four centuries, examined by geologists for the last 50 years, walked upon by twelve humans, this is Earth's satellite.
And as we look towards the Moon with thoughts of setting up a permanent home there, one new question is paramount: does the Moon have water? Although none has been definitely detected, recent evidence suggests that it's there.
Is it true? Seeing the early analytical report of the moon rock samples, it is very early to predict about water on the moon.
The Apollo missions (1969-1972) place a number of instruments on the Moon and brought back 382 kg of lunar rocks. The Russian Luna programme also returned samples.
According to the analysis reports on the samples, moon bear many similarities to rocks on earth, they differ on one basic point –they contain no water, no hydrated minerals, and no minerals with OH groups in their crystal structures. In contrast, minerals that are hydrated or contain the OH group are plentiful on earth.

Fig.2 A close-up view of Apollo 15 lunar sample no. 15415 in the Lunar Receiving Laboratory (LRL).

Fig.3. Apollo 16 astronaut Charles Duke collects rock samples near Plumb crater on the Moon.

"Compared with terrestrial samples, all lunar rocks are oddballs because they are so dry," said Ryder a researcher. "They contain no molecules of water, they're not oxidized and they contain no ferric iron. They're easy to distinguish from rocks on Earth."
All rocks collected are igneous - formed by cooling lava. The mission failed to find any sedimentary rocks - those deposited by water - on the moon. The moon rocks were found to contain no water and were formed in an environment lacking free oxygen. Iron then occurs as crystals of metallic iron. Exposure to Earth's atmosphere would result in the rocks rusting. A new mineral, Armalcolite, was found by the Apollo 11 astronauts. It was later discovered on Earth.
The other report also supports saying that the lunar surface being free of water (as liquid) there are no water transported sediments on it.
The moon is a small planet that cooled quickly and has been geologically quiet for billions of years. There are no volcanoes and no earthquakes; there is also no atmosphere to cause weathering and erosion. The Moon is at the same mean distance from the Sun as Earth. But because it does not have the thermal protection of an atmosphere its surface temperature ranges from a searing 125 degree C at the lunar noon to a chilling -160 degree C during the lunar night. Having such a variation in temperatures it is very hard to believe the presence of water in any form on the surface of the Moon. On the earth ponds and lakes generally gets dry when temperature rises up to 40 degree C and remains for few days. How can we imagine that in such a high temperature water molecules can be found even in form of soil moisture on the surface of the Moon. Lacking an atmosphere, the Moon lost almost all of this water when the molten rock spewed onto the surface and cooled.
Other theory says that since it has only a tiny fraction of Earth's gravity, most of the Moon's water supply should have evaporated and drifted off into space long ago.

If the water is really present on the moon surface the process by which the water exists means that it likely also exists on other similarly dry bodies like Mercury and the countless asteroids in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter and also it could only be found deep inside the moon.

According to a news published by Press Trust of India (PTI), dated Jun 15, 2009, ISRO Chairman G. Madhavan Nair said that no trace of water was found on the Moon's surface. "But, we have found traces of magnesium and calcium." How the statement has now changed?


Friday, September 25, 2009

The survival of Agriculture in a destabilized climate

With special reference to India and its Jharkhand State.
Crops become toxic in warmer world- says study
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi
Department of Environment and Water Management,
J.N. college, Ranchi University, Ranchi, India.

Climate change has been the norm through out the earth’s history. Ice ages have been interspersed with interglacial periods with warmer temperatures. Although the causes of these previous natural changes are not completely understood, there is a growing consensus that human activities are contributing to the current period of climate change. In 1996, the World Meteorological Office/ United Nations Environmental Program’s Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) cautiously stated: ‘ The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate. In spite of the nay-sayers, by 2001, new evidence and improved understanding led the IPCC to state unequivocally in its Third Assessment Report that, in its Judgement, ‘most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributed to human activities.

Climate change is the outcome of the “Global Warming”. It has now started showing its impacts worldwide. Either it is in the form of floods, heavy rain or in a form of drought.

Climate change induced by increasing greenhouse gases is likely to affect crops differently from region to region. For example, average crop yield is expected to drop down to 50% in Pakistan according to the UKMO scenario whereas corn production in Europe is expected to grow up to 25% in optimum hydrologic conditions.
Crops such as these sunflowers can be affected by severe drought conditions in Australia.
Between 1996 and 2003, grain production has stabilized slightly over 1800 millions of tons. In 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003, grain stocks have been dropping, resulting in a global grain harvest that was short of consumption by 93 millions of tons in 2003.
The earth's average temperature has been rising since the late 1970s, with nine of the 10 warmest years on record occurring since 1995. In 2002, India and the United States suffered sharp harvest reductions because of record temperatures and drought. In 2003 Europe suffered very low rainfall throughout spring and summer, and a record level of heat damaged most crops from the United Kingdom and France in the Western Europe through Ukraine in the East. Bread prices have been rising in several countries in the region.
The 2001 IPCC Third Assessment Report concluded that the poorest countries would be hardest hit, with reductions in crop yields in most tropical and sub-tropical regions due to decreased water availability, and new or changed insect pest incidence. In Africa and Latin America many rainfed crops are near their maximum temperature tolerance, so that yields are likely to fall sharply for even small climate changes; falls in agricultural productivity of up to 30% over the 21st century are projected.
The impacts of global warming have been truly global and extraordinarily varied. The average rise in global temperatures may seem small- 0.76 degrees C since the Industrial Revolution in roughly the mid-18th century, the earth’s average temperature reaching 14.5 degree C in 2005- but this is only an average. The farther one goes from the equator, in northern latitudes in particular, the rise is much higher than the average.

In this article my emphasis will be more on impact on agriculture due to climate change, with special reference to India and its Jharkhand State. India’s agriculture is more dependent on monsoon from the ancient periods. Any change in monsoon trend drastically affects agriculture. Human interference has certainly made the Indian monsoon fickle. Even the increasing temperature is affecting the Indian agriculture. A recent study by the Indian Agriculture Research Institute found that increase in temperature by about 2 degrees C “reduced potential (wheat) grain yields in most regions”, and that “overall, temperature increases are predicted to reduce rice yields”, the impact on rice yields being most in eastern India. even the IPCC, scarcely alarmist, says 0.5 degree C rise in winter temperature would reduce wheat yield by 0.45 tons per hectare in India. And this when Indian agriculture has already pushed into crisis, and 1.5 lakh farmers have committed suicide since 1995.

There has been a major shift in the pattern of rainfall during the south-west monsoon season (from June to September) in recent years. This is one of the findings of an analysis by scientists at the India Meteorology Department’s National climate Centre at Pune.

Another is that rainfall over Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand has been showing a significant decreasing trend, while that over coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema, north interior Karnataka, Madhya Maharashtra, Konkan, Goa and Gangetic West Bengal is showing a significant increasing trend. While the contribution of July rainfall to the overall monsoon exhibit a significant increasing trend. The contribution in June and August exhibited a significant increasing trend. The findings are significant in the context of the global phenomenon of climate change. Due to global warming intensity and number of cyclones has increased. In the cyclone seasons of 2006, the number of depressions and cyclonic storms over Bay of Bengal were almost twice the annual average. This is damaging coastal agriculture and livelihoods. Due to global warming there is high influx of water in the Himalayan rivers flowing through Assam, Bihar and West Bengal in eastern India in the form of floods due to melting of Himalayan glaciers associated with heavy rains in the Himalayas. These floods annually destroy millions of tons of crops. This year the world's largest river island Majuli in Assam State of India has been severely hit by flood and erosion. Floodwaters have inundated over 87 villages of the island causing tremendous difficulty to the inhabitants and due to rapid erosion many fertile paddy fields have also been washed away by gushing water.

In year 2008 more than two million people have been marooned by late monsoon floods in 15 of the country's 64 districts, according to the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB). According to a report by the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), crops such as Aman (the mainstay of the country's rice production and a staple component of the population's diet), t-Aman (a locally developed hybrid paddy), Aush (a secondary rice crop whose volume is less than half of Aman), jute and vegetables on more than 100,000 hectares of land in the 15 flood-hit districts were submerged. More than 20,000 hectares of Aman and Aus crops in Companiganj, Golapganj, Jaintapur, Kanaighat, Gowainghat, Fenchuganj and Beanibazar Sub-districts have been destroyed in Sylhet and Sunamganj districts, according to agriculture officials.

Few years ago, there were reports coming in of massive forced migration due to persistent droughts in Bundelkhand area in Central India. large lakes had completely dried, water in wells that people use for their daily needs had run down, rivers and tributaries had dried up, thousands of hand pumps had become useless because the groundwater levels had fallen. People had abandoned their cows and other cattle to a dusty death, as they were unable to provide them fodder and water.

Global warming intensifies drought conditions in regions that already face dry conditions, particularly in [ Sub] continental interiors. The IPCC’s report in 2007 says that “increased continental temperatures are expected to lead to greater evaporation and drying, particularly important in dry regions where surface moisture is limited… drought has become more common, especially in the tropics and subtropics, since the 1970s … more intense and larger drought have been observed.

Drought like situation is also threatening Jharkhand State of India where scanty and late arrival of monsoon this year is affecting crops and depletion of ground water. Drought is a recurrent phenomenon in Jharkhand. It affects the livelihoods of the majority of its people, particularly tribals and dalits living in rural areas. Twelve of the 22 districts of the state, covering 43% of the total land area, are covered under the Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP).Hunger and starvation deaths are reported almost every year. Jharkhand is one of the richest states in the country in terms of natural resources. However, the rate of growth in agriculture has been one of the slowest in the country both in terms of production and productivity. Almost 90% of the cultivated area is monocropped. Only 9% of the total cropped area is irrigated. Hence the rural population is very vulnerable to rainfall fluctuations.

Jharkhand receives almost 1200-1300 mm of rainfall every year but from last few years the rains are erratic in many areas. The probability of rainfall failures and coefficient of variations is quite high in the last weeks of June-July and in the last weeks of September-October. Hence, drought in the state primarily occurs at the start or end of the kharif season.

This year there was less rain in the month of July. In July, upland crops grow to maturity and seedlings for transplanted rice are established. If there is deficient rain, the upland crop—mainly paddy and maize, which provides food security in August-September— is affected.

This year most of the vegetables have been destroyed either due to uneven rainfall or due to intense un-seasonal hailstorms that damaged the standing crops and vegetables and led to huge losses to farmers. In year 2007 and 2008 also hailstorms destroyed crops. This year situation worsened as most of the green vegetables vanished from the local markets or was too costly to be purchased by the common and poor people.

Palamau district in Jharkhand State of India is reeling under drought due to scanty rainfall. Crops have been destroyed and the region is facing a famine-like situation. It has not only affected the crops but also depleted the ground water and well water forcing people to drink contaminated water.

The Indian Irrigation Commission described Palamau as the driest and probably the poorest district of the province. The frequent draughts and famines or scarcity conditions that have visited this district within the last century support this observation. The district falls within the retreating range of the south-west monsoon and as such rainfall is wholly dependent upon local conditions and local winds which are seldom favourable to the district.

The rainfall in Palamau is not only scanty but very capricious in its distribution. There are, it is true, a large number of rivers and streams in the district, but in most of them the supply of water diminishes rapidly or fails entirely soon after the end of the scanty rains.

It is not only Palamau but other districts are also under threat of drought like conditions including Ranchi district. It is not only the scanty rain but rise in temperature and short period of winter has also affected the crops and vegetables of the state.

Jharkhand is one of the most food-insecure and malnourished states in the country. NSSO (55th round) data reveal that 10.46% of all households in Jharkhand face seasonal food insecurity. Around 2.5% of households face chronic food shortages. Of the families facing food insecurity, 64% face food shortages for two to three months while as many as 28% do not have sufficient food for four to five months. Almost 6% of the food-deficient
households have to go hungry for more than half the year. The incidence of food insecurity is higher among ST and SC families. Assured food supplies exist for only three to four months of the year, after the harvest in late October-early November. Food supplies tend to run short by the end of winter. The starvation period begins by mid-summer (June) and in many cases, continues till the end of October.

Entire Jharkhand has been now declared drought-hit following scanty rainfall. The decision was taken at the meeting of the Advisory Council of the Governor. Earlier, the Council had announced 11 of the 24 districts as drought-hit. In the face of severe drought, it was decided to distribute grains free of cost to BPL (below poverty line) families, besides setting up of grain godowns at district and block headquarters.

If the same condition prevails in coming years situation will be worse as the state lacks proper irrigation facilities and proper storage facilities for grains.

A dry spell has led the Uttar Pradesh government to declare 20 of the state's 70 districts as "drought-hit". According to weather reports, Uttar Pradesh has received only about 128 cm of rainfall since June 1 as against the expected normal rainfall of about 307 cm. In the 20 drought-hit districts, the recorded rainfall was barely 60 cm.

Scanty rainfall in most parts of Uttar Pradesh, will hit agricultural production leading to a shortage of rice in the state, says a government report. According to the report prepared by the state agriculture department, the worst hit would be paddy yield, which is expected to decline by about 60 percent this year. Maize production is also expected to fall 1.15 million tonnes to 900,000 tonnes.
The districts where rainfall has been lowest include Chitrakoot (81 percent below normal), Etah (84 percent below normal) and Rampur (85 percent below normal).
Twenty six of Bihar’s 38 districts were declared drought-hit this year in view of scanty rainfall that has badly hit transplanting of paddy seedlings and affected millions of farmers.

Bihar has recorded a 42 percent rainfall deficit so far this monsoon season. This has hit the transplanting of paddy seedlings.
The state during the period between June 1 and Aug 6 had received just 331.7 mm of rainfall against the average 568.5 mm — a deficiency of 42 percent. It has resulted in 58 percent decline in paddy transplantation. Bihar had targeted sowing of paddy in 8,772,241 acres this year, but the crop could only be planted in only 3,822,967 acres so far.
Uttarakhand State is under drought-like conditions for last six months. 50 per cent of crops damaged in 3216 villages of five districts alone. Rainfall in the months of December, January, February and March has been far below normal, severely affecting winter crops in the hilly areas.

Madhya Pradesh state of central India is going to witness the worst drought of the century due to the scanty rainfall in as many as 37 districts following which it has declared them drought-affected.
Due to scanty rainfall, as many as 37 districts of the state were declared drought-affected. The districts which were declared drought-affected are Alirajpur, Ashok Nagar, Anuppur, Barwani, Bhind, Balaghat, Burhanpur, Chhatarpur, Dewas, Dindori, Datia, Damoh, Guna, Gwalior, Jhabua, Jabalpur, Katni, Khandwa, Morena, Mandla, Narsinghpur, Panna, Ratlam, Raisen, Rewa, Satna, Sidhi, Singrauli, Shahdol, Sagar, Sehore, Shivpuri, Sheopur Kalan, Shajapur, Tikamgarh, Umaria and Vidisha.

Drought like conditions is prevailing in most parts of Northern India. According to William Cline, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD) and the Peterson Institute for International Economics, “India is among the most adversely affected with losses of 30-40% (in agriculture productivity) depending upon whether higher carbon dioxide provides a significant fertilization effect.”He noted that in the southern parts of India, damage will be substantial and similar to that in other countries also located close to equator. In these locations, where temperatures are already at high levels, an increase in temperature will surpass crop tolerance levels. In North India, the unusual increase in rainfall combined with higher temperature could result in a higher decline in productivity than one would expect from where it is located relative to equator. Cline finds that agricultural production in developing countries may fall between 10 and 25 percent, and if global warming progresses unabated, India's agricultural capacity could fall as much as 40 percent.
Poverty in South Asia is still largely rural. About 70% of South Asia’s population lives in rural areas, and it accounts for about 75% of the poor. Most of the rural poor depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Agriculture employs about 60% of the labor force in South Asia and contributes 22% of regional GDP. The Green Revolution of 1970s and 1980s substantially increased food grain productivity and increased rural wages. Recent agricultural growth in South Asia, however, is less than 3% and is far below the growth rates of other economic sectors.

Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh said that the country was facing a drought threat. India's vital monsoon rains have been 29 percent below normal since the beginning of the June-September season, hurting crops such as rice and sugarcane and triggering a sharp rise in food prices. "We are staring at the prospect of an impending drought,".

Since agriculture constitutes a much larger fraction of GDP in developing countries, even a small percentage loss in agricultural productivity would impose a larger proportionate income loss in a developing country than in an industrial country.

A study published in Science suggest that, due to climate change, "southern Africa could lose more than 30% of its main crop, maize, by 2030. In South Asia losses of many regional staples, such as rice, millet and maize could top 10%".

Drought obviously leads to water stress in plants. Heat waves, on the other hand, are acute episodes which, if the temperature is high enough, above 40 degree C for instance, lead to wilting and death, because of structural damage to essential proteins. The problem is that plants react by closing their stomata when subjected to water stress, so shutting down on transpiration and conserving water. But rather as the body would overheat dangerously if it shut its pores to prevent sweating, so in a plant the shutting of the stomata will cause internal temperatures to rise and may well cause permanent damage, if not death. According to a report temperatures above 45 degree C will damage most plants if lasting for half-an-hour or more. High soil temperatures will also damage roots and prevent nutrient uptake.

David Pimental from the college of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University, points out that each crop has its optimum temperature and length of growing season for maximum yields. Rice generally grows best when temperatures are between 30 degree C and 33 degree C, yet it will still ‘fruit’ and generally produce as long as temperatures do not fall below 18 degree C. Some varieties will tolerate temperatures rising to as high as 40 degree C. In contrast potatoes do badly if temperature rise above 28 degree C and do best when they lie between 15 and 20 degree C. higher soil temperatures will increase the rate of oxidation and hence loss of nutrients and organic matter. Less organic matter means less soil organisms such as earthworms and insects that do so much to improve the ground. Hence global warming and temperature rises could have a deleterious effect on the main cereal crops.

In temperate latitudes crops need at least 250 millimeters of rain a year and in the tropics 500 millimeters. However, it is not just the amount of precipitation, but when the bulk of it occurs that is important. Global warming will undoubtedly play havoc with a crop’s specific needs, both through increasing surface temperatures, which itself will lead to a greater likelihood of water stress on vegetation because of enhanced evaporation from soils and through distorting rainfall patterns. A failure of the monsoon spells disaster for India as does just a small decline in the amount of rain over the semi-arid countries of the Sahel.

Global warming is not only affecting the production of the crops but also making some of the crops toxic. According to an Australian scientist, Staples such as cassava on which millions of people depend become more toxic and produce much smaller yields in a world with higher carbon dioxide levels and more drought.

A team of Monash University in Melbourne tested cassava and sorghum under a series of climate change scenarios, with particular focus on different CO2 levels, to study the effect on plant nutritional quality and yield. Both species belong to a group of plants that produce chemicals called cyanogenic glycosides, which break down to release poisonous cyanide gas if the leaves are crushed or chewed.
Around 10 percent of all plants and 60 percent of crop species produce cyanogenic glycosides.
The team grew cassava and sorghum at three different levels of CO2; just below today's current levels at about 360 parts per million in the atmosphere, at about 550 ppm and about double at 710 pm.
It was found that at double current CO2 levels, the level of toxin was much higher while protein levels fell.
The ability of people and herbivores, such as cattle, to break down the cyanide depends largely on eating sufficient protein.
Anyone largely reliant on cassava for food, particularly during drought, would be especially at risk of cyanide poisoning.
The group looked at a type of sorghum commonly fed to cattle in Australia and Africa and found it became less toxic at the highest CO2 level. But under drought conditions, leaf toxin levels rose.

Within the context of the modern industrialized farming, global warming and warmer temperatures with mild winters in temperate zones will lead to a surge in pathogens and pests. Not only will some pests be able to take advantage of rising temperatures to spread to higher latitudes and altitudes, but also to increase their rate of reproduction by adding an additional generation. During the growing season some insect pests can produce 500 progeny per female every two weeks and as many as 3,000 in a single generation. In general, losses to insects and mites are higher in warmer regions of the world.

According to the United Nations, agricultural mismanagement has damaged more than 552 million hectares – 38 percent of today’s cultivated area- since World War 2 and that overall, between 5 and 10 million hectares a year are currently being lost. Just 100 years at that rate would leave the world with but a patch of the land for agriculture that it has today.


Bunyard, P. 1999. A hunger world. The Ecologist, v.29, no.2, pp.86-91.

Runeckles, V.C. 2002. Air pollution and climate change. In air pollution and plant life, second edition, eds. J.N.b. Bell and M. Treshow. Wiley, USA.

“The roots of Global Warming” a report published by Delhi Platform in year 2008.,,contentMDK:21571064~pagePK:146736~piPK:146830~theSitePK:223547,00.html

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Human footprints found near Ranchi city in Jharkhand State of India.

Villagers believe that these foot prints belong to the Lord Ram and Lord Lakshman.


Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi

The first recorded story of foot print dates back to 1811. the well-known explorer and trader David Thompson was crossing the Rockies towards the mouth of the Columbia river when, at the site of modern Jasper, Alberta, he and his companion came upon a foot print fourteen inches by eight inches, with four toes and claw marks. Thompson thought it was probably a grizzly bear, but his companion insisted that it could not have been a bear because bears have five toes.

Two pair of Human foot prints which I encountered some 40 kms west of Ranchi city of Jharkhand State of India is little different with other common foot prints found in other parts of the world. Toes are absent. The foot prints seem to be imprinted in the granite rocks by the earlier habitants of the area. Villagers believe that these foot prints belong to the Lord Ram and Lord Lakshman. Both stayed here for few days on their way to Pampapur (now Palkot in Jharkhand) for search of Ram’s wife Sita. There is a description of PAMPAPUR located on RISHIMUKH PARVAT in RAMAYANA. Villagers believe that the ancient PAMPAPUR is today’s PALKOT. This fact is proven by a number of places of Ramayana era in its neighborhood such as ANJAN, where Lord HANUMAN born, RAMREKHA DHAM that is the place where Lord Ram and Sita spent some times in their exile, UMRA where the hill is similar to KISKINDHA etc. PAMPASAR, a pond spread in about 1000 Sq.ft, is considered as a place of mother PUMPABHAWANI and a hidden way door to some place. It is a holy pond situated on the upper part of PAMPAPUR Mountain.

Foot prints found are eleven inches by five inches and ten inches by four and half inches. It resembles to the foot wearing sandals made of wood.

The Romans were accustomed to carve pairs of footprints on a stone with the inscription pro itu et reditu, "for the journey and return". They used them for protective rites on leaving for a journey and for thanksgiving for a safe return, when the traveler would place his feet in the footprints to mark the beginning or end of the undertaking. This same story is told of King Maelgwn of Gwynedd in North Wales, who placed his feet in carved footprints to ensure his safe return from a pilgrimage to Rome.

It is believed that one of the earliest examples of footwear worn on the Indian subcontinent is a sandal of wood, datable to circa 200 BC. During the 3rd and 4th Centuries in the Buddhist period, it was quite common to wear strapped sandals, and Indian kings wore sandals ornamented with precious jewels. Jaina literature shows that leather was used for the making of shoes, which protected the toes from getting injured. In Indian culture, the foot is regarded as an object of veneration. Worship is offered and obeisance paid to elders, religious heads and idols with the ceremonial washing of the feet.

As these foot prints are in the granite rocks, one thing is sure that it is not natural but it is carved on the rocks. Geologically it has been proved that during consolidation of granite rocks there was no developed life on the Earth. For the formation of natural foot prints on the rocks it is essential that rocks should be soft or in muddy stage.

It's official: the oldest human footprints ever found are 345,000 years old, give or take 6000. Known as the "devils' trails", they have been preserved in volcanic ash atop the Roccamonfina volcano in Italy.

Other peculiar structure on the rocks resembles to a butterfly or some other flying birds or object. It is carved just below the foot prints. I am not able to correlate the relationship between the twos.

These footprints are under threat as rocks of these areas are being mined for building purpose. Till today rock containing these structures is being protected by villagers. Similar carved structures have been reported from the different parts of the Jharkhand state which still needs attention from the Jharkhand Government.

We live in a highly advanced, technical world, but there are nevertheless a great many mysteries all around us. Ancient places and mysterious beings, sunken worlds and cultures, landscapes imbued with symbolism, unexplained apparitions, and unbelievable finds from ancient times- all of these remain mysteries for humankind, despite intense investigations.

Reference: hole

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BREAKING – activists drop 70′ banner off of NIAGARA FALLS to tell Canadian PM: NO TAR SANDS oil!

Published by Joshua Kahn Russell, September 15th, 2009

Before dawn this morning, a small team of climate and Native Rights activists rappelled from the US observation deck at Niagara Falls. Dangling hundreds of feet above the ground, they sent a special welcome message to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper ahead of his first official visit to the White House to push dirty Tar Sands oil.

Not that he’s feeling so welcome anyway. Obama limited the meeting to just one hour. While some have called it a slap in the face, Aides say Harper will turn the other cheek. “The economy, and the clean-energy dialogue,” one aide told the Globe and Mail, “will dominate the discussions.” Obama needed to dodge controversy over oil imports from Canada’s tar sands in the midst of the Climate Legislation debate. Harper needed a story to go with his photo-op.

During Harper’s first official trip to meet Obama in the U.S., the two leaders are expected to discuss climate change and energy policy ahead of the upcoming G20 Summit. Canada supplies 19% of U.S. oil imports, more than half of which now comes from the tar sands, making the region the largest single source of U.S. oil imports. The expansion of the tar sands will strip mine an area the size of Florida. Complete with skyrocketing rates of cancer (by 400%!) for First Nations communities living downstream, broken treaties, toxic belching lakes so large you can see them from outer space, churning up ancient boreal forest, destroyed air and water quality, the tar sands have been called the most destructive project on Earth.

Tomorrow’s visit to the U.S. by Prime Minister Harper is the latest attempt by Canadian Federal and Provincial officials to lock in subsidies for 22 new and expanded refinery projects and oil pipelines crisscrossing 28 states, which would transport and process the dirty tar sands oil. Many are concerned that Prime Minister Harper wants to protect the tar sands oil industry from climate regulation, even though it is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.

“Climate change, one of the biggest security threats of our time, is something Canada and the United States face together. Extracting tar sands oil, which sends three times more climate-changing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than conventional oil, puts us all at risk,” said Eriel Deranger a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and Rainforest Action Network’s Tar Sands Campaigner in Alberta.

As this oil spills into the U.S., communities living near oil refineries face increased air and water pollution, which contains 11 times more sulfur and nickel and five times more lead than conventional oil.

Opposition to tar sands oil has been rising on both sides of the border. Just last month, four Native American and environmental groups sued Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Deputy Secretary James Steinberg and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over Enbridge Energy’s Alberta Clipper pipeline. If built, the 1,375 mile pipeline would pump 800,000 barrels of tar sands oil per day from Northern Alberta to Midwestern refineries. On the Canadian, Native activists escalated pressure on the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) for their funding of the tar sands a few weeks ago.

Canada has no regulations to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, and the federal government’s climate change plan would allow total pollution from the tar sands to increase almost 70 percent by 2020. Tar sands oil production is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada and was recently cited as one of the most important reasons Canada will miss its Kyoto targets by over 30%.

Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) used to be the centerpiece of Harper’s pitch. Global warming pollution from coal and tar sands “can be solved by technology,” declared Obama. Not to be outdone, Harper’s office announced that “A strengthened U.S.-Canada partnership on carbon sequestration will help accelerate private sector investment in commercial scale, near-zero-carbon coal facilities to promote climate and energy security.”

Half a year and billions of wasted tax dollars later, though, CCS is still a pipe dream. FutureGen, North America’s supposed proving ground for the unproven technology, can’t keep private investors to save it’s life. Two of its biggest private backers, Southern Co. and AEP, jumped ship last June. Around the same time, sponsors lowered the goal-post on the project to just 60% less carbon. So much for near-zero-carbon facility. Projects promised in the tar sands are fairing even worse.

No matter. Harper is back, hat in hand, looking for legislative handouts to an industry destined to ruin the climate.

So here’s our welcome to you, Prime Minister Harper. Now, please, go home.

And take your dirty tar sands with you.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Effect of Urbanization on Ground water in Ranchi city, India.

Ranchi people needs 33858160 liters of water per day.
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi

Ranchi the capital city of Jharkhand state of India is located at 23.350 N and 85.330 E. The total area covered by Ranchi-Municipal area is about 141 square kilometers and the average elevation of the city is 645 m above Mean Sea Level (MSL). As of 2001 India census Ranchi had a population of 846,454.

Water supply, in adequate quantity and at desirable quality, is essential for any sustainable urbanization. Water supply in Ranchi dates back to more than 50 years ago.

There are three main dams ( Hatia, Rukka, and Kanke dam) from where the water is supplied to the city. Surface water is always vulnerable to pollution. People of Ranchi are dependent more on purer source like groundwater. Of the total consumption more than 60% comes from groundwater storage. Due to increasing population more pressure has developed on groundwater from the aquifer beneath the city.

The process of urbanization and industrialization from last 20 years has caused changes in the water table as a result of decreased recharge and increased withdrawal. Many of the small ponds which were main source of water in the surrounding areas are now filled for different construction purpose affecting the water table. Lots of DEEP- BORING in the Ranchi city has also forced the water table to move down as well as Ranchi plateau

Large scale abstractions always bring changes in the natural system of the aquifer and also in the environment. Over exploitation of groundwater beneath some large cities of the world has resulted in serious environmental hazards like groundwater quality deterioration.

The International Conference on Water and Environment, Dublin, 1992 enunciated two crucially important guideline principles, namely, that all human beings have a basic right to access to clean water and sanitation at an affordable price, and that water has an economic value in all its competing uses and should be recognized as economic good.

Groundwater in Ranchi city:

Groundwater in Ranchi city is mainly stored here in secondary porosity features or void spaces developed as result of weathering, fracturing, jointing, shearing or faulting phenomena. The gneisses and granitic rocks with associated schists and quartzites constitute the main consolidated rock terrain of Ranchi district.

Major portion of Ranchi city which is part of the Chotanagpur Plateau occupied by hard rock which are devoid of primary porosity and occurrence and movement of groundwater is controlled by the joints, fractures and fissures present in them.

During the long span of geological history these rocks have been deformed and tectonised in many ways including deep erosion.

In Ranchi city water table in the consolidated formations is now at its lowest from April to June. Water table is at its highest peak during August, gradually stabilizing in the month of November.

Sources of groundwater recharge in Ranchi city and the other parts of Jharkhand State is the vertical percolation of rain water. Although city experiences about 1000 to 1200 mm rainfall annually, the rate of vertical percolation is hindered by the presence of highly weathered and metamorphosed rocks. The Ranchi plateau gradually slopes down towards south east into the hilly and undulating region of Singhbhum. Due to this uneven topography the rain water are lost through surface runoff resulting in less water percolation below the surface. The thin soil layer of Ranchi plateau which is becoming more thin due to weathering is gradually loosing its water retaining capacity, Moreover, present land development practices in the recharge area and natural canals or rivulets in and around the city is also reducing the natural recharge significantly. More than 40% of the rain water is lost in the form of surface runoff. The rate of decline ranges between 1m/year to 5m/year at different observation locations within the city.
The daily physiological consumption of drinking water for human varies from 1- 4 L per capita per day, depending upon the climate ( high in the summer), the kind of work a person does (a manual worker working in open sun would need to drink more water, than a person working in an air-conditioned office), and social habits. If we calculate total consumption of water it increases up to 40 L per capita per day especially in the country like India . Seeing the population of Ranchi, i.e. 846454 we can easily calculate average consumption of water in Ranchi city for domestic purpose per day. It is 33858160 L per day and it is increasing many fold every year. If we add the water being used in construction of houses, malls, buildings the figure will be more. As Ranchi is becoming one of the important business center in Eastern India there is a rampant increase in construction and expansion of city. Due to inadequate water supply from the dams, dependency on ground water is increasing. Over pressed zones are Upper Bazar, Main Road, Ratu Road, Chutia, Hindhpirhi, Circular Road, Burdwan Compound, Lalpur and Harmu Road.

Long term large-scale abstraction of ground water have deleterious effects on water quality, resources and ecology over a wide area.

Water quality deterioration due to overexploitation can take place in a number of ways. Depression in ground water level may result in reversal in flow directions and restrict ground water circulation. Restricted ground water circulation favours mineralization and thus increases the total dissolved solids (TDS) in the ground water. The results of ground water analysis indicate that fluoride is distributed heterogeneously in ground water of the city. Fluoride in high concentration is found in ground water of southern, western and southwestern zones of the Ranchi city. The water is found to be slightly acidic in nature and high in iron concentration in most of the zones.

Potential sources of contamination:
From experiences of other major cities of the world and observation made in Ranchi city, the possible sources of contaminants can be categorized as follows.

Municipal wastes:
Ranchi city is growing faster and without any proper municipal waste dumping policy, municipal waste can be seen dumped here and there in the city. Most of the by lanes in the city are chocked with municipal solid wastes. This municipal waste poses a serious threat to ground water quality. Leachate from a landfill can pollute ground water if water moves through the fill material. Possible sources of water include precipitation, surface water infiltration, percolating water from adjacent land, and ground water in contact with the fill. The problem of pollution from landfills is greatest where high rainfall and shallow water tables occur. Municipal waste, also called urban solid waste, is a waste type that includes predominantly household waste (domestic waste) with sometimes the addition of commercial wastes collected by a municipality within a given area. They are in either solid or semisolid form and generally exclude industrial hazardous wastes.

Municipal waste of Ranchi city is composed mainly of:

1.Biodegradable waste: food and kitchen waste, green waste, paper (can also be recycled).
2.Recyclable material: paper, glass, bottles, cans, metals, certain plastics, etc.
3.Inert waste: construction and demolition waste, dirt, rocks, debris.
4.Composite wastes: waste clothing, waste plastics.
5.Domestic hazardous waste (also called "household hazardous waste") & toxic waste: medication, paints, chemicals, light bulbs, fluorescent tubes, spray cans, batteries.

Municipal wastes produce toxic and carcinogenic chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents (CHSs) which have been found to contaminate ground water in many urban areas of the world. The CHSs are the components of the leachate produced at the disposal sites. Alongside with CHSs, leachate also contains higher amount of other dissolved solids which can also be potential source of ground water pollution. The concentration of CHSs in potable water is very hazardous, even at very low concentrations. Important pollutants frequently found in leachate include BOD, COD, iron, manganese, chloride, nitrate, hardness, and trace elements. Hardness, alkalinity, and total dissolved solids are often increased, while generation of gases, such as methane, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide, are further by-products of landfills.

Polluted surface water:
Ranchi city is bounded by several small rivulets like Harmu river, Jumar river, Potpoto river, etc. These rivers are becoming sites for indiscriminate disposal of municipal, household and industrial wastes which may contaminate the city groundwater. This is particularly true for the Harmu river as the flow of the river is chocked with different household and municipal wastes. This river may pose major threat to the ground water quality.

Liquid waste:
Due to lack of proper drainage system most of the house hold liquid waste are sent in the disposal wells underground. Such disposal wells or soak pit tanks have been criticized from a health standpoint because of the potential for pollutants to be released directly into an aquifer. The problem is most critical where disposal wells are near pumping wells. Leakage from these wells can introduce high concentration of BOD, COD, nitrate, organic chemicals, and possibly bacteria into ground water.

Protection of ground water:

It is evident from the foregoing discussion that the aquifer beneath the city is getting overexploited and as consequence ground water resources are being depleted. Quality deterioration, an associated phenomena, of overexploitation, may be encountered. This quality deterioration will be relatively high in the overexploited and thickly populated areas. Once pollution has occurred, the water has to be treated at the point of abstraction. The cleanup of an aquifer is a very difficult task. It follows that every effort should be made to prevent the contamination of the ground water in the first instance. Rain water harvesting, harvesting of surface runoff and ground water recharge should be done in community level.