Mawmluh cave gets Unesco recognition

State’s tourist destination selected as one of first 100 International Union of Geological Sciences’ geological sites

NEW DELHI, Oct 1: In yet another moment of pride for Meghalaya, Krem Mawmluh or the Mawmluh cave in the state has been selected as one of the ‘First 100 IUGS Geological Sites’ in the world by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) of UNESCO, the Chief Minister Conrad Sangma today revealed.
The IUGS Global Geosites project opens a new opportunity to accomplish a worldwide inventory of geological heritage of international relevance in a new context where UNESCO Global Geoparks can play an important role. Geological surveys, research institutions and geoparks from around the world will cooperate and contribute towards a new IUGS Global Geosite inventory that will be driven and coordinated by the International Commission on Geoheritage, IUGS.
The project will define a new methodology and criteria towards an effective procedure where the acquired knowhow and experience will be shared and put to work. In the 1990s, the Global Geosites Working Group of IUGS started the development of a database of geological sites of international relevance.
“Mawmluh Cave in Sohra, Meghalaya known for the ‘Meghalayan Age’ has been selected by @theIUGS(@UNESCO) as one of the ‘FIRST 100 IUGS GEOLOGICAL SITES’ in the world (sic),” the CM said on Twitter.
“IUGS 60th Anniversary Event in Zumaia, Basque Coast UNESCO Global Geopark (Spain) will declare the First 100 IUGS Geological Heritage Sites selected from 181 candidate sites from 56 countries,” Sangma added.
Meghalaya’s Mawmluh cave is one of the longest caves in the Indian sub-continent as it stretches for about 4,500 metres.
Locally known as Krem Mawmluh, this cave is located at a distance of around half a kilometre to west of Cherrapunjee and is known for the stalagmite structures and other rock formations inside the caves.
It is one of the prominent tourist attractions of the destination. In addition, there is a pool inside the cave, which is formed as a result of five different rivers finding their way inside the cave.
Being inside the Mawmluh cave can sometimes feel like walking inside the maw of a large dinosaur. The stalagmite formations resemble jagged teeth, and the caves themselves give one the sense of walking in forbidden, dark places at times and then suddenly opening into grand echoing cathedrals of nature.
It is thrilling — a feeling of walking through history, visible in the stone.
The striations that geologists’ study is front and centre here – visible to the naked eye!
Since these caves are located in wet Sohra, some scientists are studying the stalagmites to help predict monsoon patterns and droughts. Researchers from Vanderbilt University studied the last 50 years of growth on a stalagmite here and found an unexpected connection between winter rainfall here and climatic conditions in the Pacific Ocean.
In the geologic time scale, the Meghalayan is the latest age or uppermost stage of the Quaternary. It is also the upper, or latest, of three subdivisions of the Holocene epoch or series.
It was officially ratified by the International Commission on Stratigraphy in June 2018 along with the earlier Greenlandian and Northgrippian ages/stages.
Mawmluh cave conditions were suitable for preserving chemical signs of the transition in ages.

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