Saturday, November 19, 2011

Possibilities of helium deposit in Jharkhand State of India.

Assessment of helium reservoir may be under
taken in the Jharkhand state.
Dr. Nitish Priy

Fig: The above pictures are of Surajkund area in Hazaribag district in Jharkhand.

Rocks of Jharkhand State in India which are mineral rich can also be used for trapping Helium deposit. In Jharkhand helium has been reported in the gases of different thermal springs of Hazaribag district.

In Jharkhand, concentration of helium is highest in thermal gases of Surajkund (3.63 mole %) followed by Charhi (3.38 mole %), Duari (2.95 mole%), Barkagaon (0.29 mole %)and Badam (0.09 mole %). Surajkund hot spring (also called Surya Kund) is a natural hot spring in Belkapi gram panchayat of Barkatha community development block in Barhi subdivision of Hazaribag district in the Indian state of Jharkhand.

Mineral radioactivity plays an important role in the natural occurrence of helium. Helium is an end product of radioactive decay. Helium is also known from the damp of many coal mines. The release of helium from rocks/minerals is greatly promoted by leaching with H2 , CH4 and its homologues. In this area high helium seems to have originated from the combination of the above processes.

According to other report, two well-known groups of thermal springs at Bakreswar (West Bengal) and Tantloi (Jharkhand) give-off substantial quantities of helium-bearing natural gases as bubbling emanations. These two thermal spring sites are located 25 km from
each other and about 250 km from Kolkata. In Tantloi the presence of helium in gases of thermal spring is 1.26 vol. %.

Helium is used for many purposes that require some of its unique properties, such as its low boiling point, low density, low solubility, high thermal conductivity, or inertness. Of the 2008 world helium total production of about 32 million kg (193 million standard cubic meters) helium per year, the largest use (about 22% of the total in 2008) is in cryogenic applications, most of which involves cooling the superconducting magnets in medical MRI scanners.

Helium is extracted in Poland, Russia, China, Algeria, Canada and the Netherlands. The average concentration of helium in fields of these countries ranges between 0.18 and 0.9 vol%. Since such favourable natural gas deposits are not found in India, it seems logical to look for them in unconventional terrestrial sources such as thermal spring emanations and monazite sands.

A thermal spring is the manifestation of extremity of an ascending hot fluid column, which pierces successive layers of the lithosphere and comes forth through the vents. It issues along fractures and fissures, which are invariably linked with deep-seated faults in well-defined zones of mechanical weakness. There are nearly three hundred thermal springs scattered all over India. Preliminary estimation performed by Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC), Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) at Bakreswar, District Birbhum, West Bengal reveals that quite a number of thermal springs emit natural gases containing helium in significant measure.

Three distinct belts of thermal springs so far identified in India by the Geological Survey of India are: (1) Eastern India – Jharkhand, Assam and Orissa; (2) West coast of India – Ratnagiri, Thane, Colaba and Surat, and (3) Himalayan Belt – Jamunotri (Uttaranchal), Gangotri and Monikaran (Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh).

Earlier, radon, helium and uranium measurements have been carried out in hot water springs in the Parbati and Beas valleys of Himachal Pradesh in India. Most of these hot springs are known as famous pilgrimage centers. The activity of dissolved radon in the liquid phase is found to vary widely, by an order of magnitude, between 10 and 750 Bq L−1, whereas, the dissolved helium content in these thermal springs varies between 10 and 100 ppm. The uranium contents are low and vary from <0.01 to 5 μg L−1. The measured values of radon, helium and uranium are possibly controlled by structural geology, namely the presence of pervious fault systems, and by the lithology of the leached host rocks.

Helium is found in large amounts in minerals of uranium and thorium, including cleveite, pitchblende, carnotite and monazite, because they emit alpha particles (helium nuclei, He2+) to which electrons immediately combine as soon as the particle is stopped by the rock. In this way an estimated 3000 metric tons of helium are generated per year throughout the lithosphere. In the Earth's crust, the concentration of helium is 8 parts per billion. In seawater, the concentration is only 4 parts per trillion. There are also small amounts in mineral springs, volcanic gas, and meteoric iron. Because helium is trapped in the subsurface under conditions that also trap natural gas, the greatest natural concentrations of helium on the planet are found in natural gas, from which most commercial helium is extracted.

We believe that exploitation of the existing natural gas reserves in India could meet the requirement for domestic consumption of Grade-A helium. This, in turn, would ensure a reliable supply of helium for sustainable development and application of cryogenic technology. Taking into account the growing demand of cryogenic technology in our country, helium concentration assessment of helium reservoir may be undertaken in the Jharkhand state to see if helium can be mined. A detail exploration is needed to improve the database for assessing and evaluating the helium potential in Jharkhand State. Geological Survey of India along with state government and other national agencies will have to play a key role.


Priyadarshi N. 2002. Potential of geothermal energy in Jharkhand State, India: Proceedings of the 1st conference and exhibition on strategic challenges and paradigm shift in hydrocarbon exploration with special reference to Frontier Basins. Mussoorie, India, v2, p. 261-265.

Singh, R., and Bandyopadhyaya, A.K., 1995. Geochemical studies of some thermal springs in Hazaribag district, Bihar, India: Indian Minerals, v49, no.1 & 2, p. 55-60.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Climate change do affect our mind and body.

Are the people of Ranchi suffering from SAD Syndrome?
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi

Recent increase in suicidal incident in Ranchi city reminds me of an old research which says that it is not only the social issue which instigates people to commit suicide but also the climate change affects our mind and body. According to the research the changes in weather sharply affects our mind it may be peak winter season, summer season or rainy season. This theory is commonly known as SAD. SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. Ranchi city is famous for its sudden change in weather.

SAD is a syndrome characterized by depression during winter months when there is less daylight. Seasonal Affective Disorder is directly related or even caused by too little sunlight, which causes the body's time clock to go out of sync, thus upsetting the body's routine, and may even affect certain hormonal levels in the body. The symptoms of SAD are depression, sadness, lethargy, fatigue, excessive sleeping, difficulty getting up in the morning, loss of appetite or increased eating of carbohydrates, thus increase in weight, decreased activity and socialization, apathy, irritability. The disorder may begin during the teen years or in early adulthood. Like other forms of depression, it occurs more often in women than in men.

There are studies that link weather with long periods of high temperatures to increase in crime. It is believed that people get irritable and hostile when it is extremely hot. Several law enforcement agencies have statistics that shows the correlation of the two. Think about how you felt if ever you had experienced a heat wave: hot, irritable, frustrated, may be even angry.

The weather can affect your mood more than you realise. "The human body, its metabolism and hormones react to the changing season resulting in changes in mood and behaviour. Just as you find yourself getting irritable and aggressive during summer, you may find yourself feeling low and lethargic in monsoon and winter.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression, winter blues, summer depression, summer blues, or seasonal depression, is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter or summer, spring or autumn year after year.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine notes that "some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and may also feel depressed. People who experience spring and summer depression show symptoms of classic depression including insomnia, anxiety, irritability, decreased appetite, weight loss, social withdrawal, an increased sex drive, and suicide. Additionally, many patients are unable to cope with the increased temperatures during spring and summer.

SAD was first systematically reported and named in the early 1980s by Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D., and his associates at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Rosenthal was initially motivated by his desire to discover the cause of his own experience of depression during the dark days of the northern US winter. He theorized that the lesser amount of light in winter was the cause.

Some natural disaster like earthquake, floods and drought also affects our mind. People become depressed for several months after the disaster forcing few of them to commit suicide like farmers of India who were forced to commit suicide due to continued drought in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh states etc.

Not only weather change but also the pollution in atmosphere especially heavy metal pollution like Lead etc. affects our body and mind. Lead increases blood pressure which gradually affects our mind and increase irritation.

After becoming the capital Ranchi city is facing acute changes in atmosphere. Earlier it was the summer capital of united Bihar Jharkhand State famous for its pleasant climate but now the atmosphere is gradually becoming worse day by day. People of Ranchi are definitely going to be affected with such syndrome.