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Geology of Bundelkhand

 
  The granite country is marked by outcrops, ranging from small patches to large hillocks

Geologically, Bundelkhand presents a mixture from different eras, from the earliest days of the formation of the earth, when its upper crust cooled and solidified, till recent times.

From the earliest period, older than 2500 million years, are granite-like formations called gneiss and so-called Bundelkhand Granite.

Much of the area of Datia, Jhansi, Lalitpur, Tikamgarh Chhatarpur, Panna and Sagar districts, and southern portions of Chitrakoot and Mahoba districts is granite country, marked by outcrops of great diversity in mineral composition and size, ranging from small patches to large hillocks.

A striking feature of the granite country, which has impacted settlement patterns and agriculture, is the presence of long and narrow rocky ridges, known as quarts reefs and dolerite dykes. Often, these wall-like natural features intercept the course of streams, leading to formation of water bodies and enabling the creation of large artificial lakes.

From later geological eras (570 to 900 million years ago) , we get diamond fields in Panna, extensive limestone deposits in Damoh, Chhatarpur and Datia, basaltic rocks in southern Lalitpur and sandstone deposits in Panna and Sagar.

Massive sandstone and limestone cliffs are seen in the Vindhyan hills which girdle the granite country.

The most recent geological deposits are alluvium, in the form of sand, silt or clay, brought down by north-flowing rivers.

Mineral Wealth

Diamonds found in Panna district constitute Bundelkhand's most well known mineral wealth and were highly prized in medieval times, when the stone was found only in India. However, after the discovery of diamonds in Brazil in 1725, and in the 1870s in South Africa, the Panna diamonds lost much of their sheen. From a global market perspective, diamond production in Panna is today of little volume or value.

More valuable are Bundelkhand's large reserves of what are called dimensional stones, including granite, sandstone, and pyrophillite.

Massive blocks of medium to coarse-grained varieties of pink, red and grey granite are found in Jhansi, Lalitpur, Mahoba, Banda, Datia, Chhatarpur, Panna and Sagar districts. Multicoloured and black granites are found in parts of Sagar and Panna. A variety called Jhansi Red, mined in Chhatarpur, is found in no other country. Another prized variety found in the district is called Fortune Red.

White, buff, cream, pink and red sandstone (flagstone) varieties are found in different layers in the Vindhyan hills; the most extensive deposits are in Panna and Sagar districts. The lowest layer sandstone is an excellent building material, with uniform colour and texture. It can be chiselled easily and in great detail. The temples of Khajurao and its famous sculptures, in Chhatarpur district, are made from locally sourced Kaimur sandstone. Lalitpur is known for sandstone varieties called Lalitpur Grey and Lalitpur Yellow. Other less known varieties of sandstone are mined found in considerable quantities in Chhatarpur.

Large reserves of pyrophyllite, a soft, light-coloured stone, are found in Jhansi, Lalitpur, Mahoba, Tikamgarh and Chhatarpur districts, constituting around 80% of the country's reserves of this material. The stone is used for making decorative items. Found in combination with a mineral called diaspore, it has industrial uses also.

Stone of lower value, used in crushed form in road and building construction, is available in large quantities in Bundelkhand Intermediate and Bundelkhand Upland sub-regions. The Vindhyan hills provide, in Sagar, Damoh and Panna districts, large quantities of limestone

UP's main mineral belt lies in Bundelkhand and other southern districts of the state like Allahabad and Sonbhadra. Excluding granite, the most precious resource of UP Bundelkhand is silica sand found in Mau tehsil of Chitrakoot and an adjacent area of Allabahad district called Shankargarh. The deposits are said to be the best source of glass sands in India.

Rock phosphate, used in the fertiliser industry, is found in Lalitpur; it is also mined in Chhatarpur. Large reserves of low grade iron ore (25-30% iron) are found in Lalitpur.

Other minerals available in less valuable quantities include feldspar, used in ceramics industry, found in Jhansi and diaspore, used in refractories, found in Lalitpur, Mahoba and Banda districts. 

Clay, used in lime and cement industries, is found in Datia, Panna and Tikamgarh. Agate pebbles found in some places in the gravel of Ken river are used for making objets d art. Dolomite is found in Sagar and Banda districts.

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