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News Entry# 288124
Dec 09 2016 (10:27)  Metro dig tells story of ground beneath our feet (
News Entry# 288124     
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For a glimpse of what lies beneath this teeming metropolis, head to the archaeology exhibition that will be held at the Mumbai University next week.
The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL), which is executing the MetroIII project, has provided samples of various types of rocks that it has encountered along the metro route, from Colaba to SEEPZ. R Ramana, executive director, MMRCL, said the corporation wanted to submit anything of interest that it finds for study to the University .
The book, Geological Story of Mumbai by geologist G K Avasia, recounts
how the “submerged forest“ of Mumbai, with the trees still in a standing position, was discovered during the previous century when the engineering work for deepening of Mumbai Docks was being carried out.
The geo-testing or soil testing for the metro route began this August for the 27 underground stations that form part of this 32km-long metro route.These tests are being done to ascertain the stress and strength for each rock to hold the strain of an underground metro station.
At Colaba-Cuffe Parade, the team found normal amygdaloidal basalt. This type of rock comprises cavities filed with minerals such as zoolyte and calcite. These rocks were up to 30-35 metres below the surface. After another10 metres, they found fine-grained compact basalt.
At Azad Maidan, it was again compact basalt while at the location for the Siddhivinayak temple metro station, the team found tuff, an igneous rock that forms from the products of an explosive volcanic eruption. In these eruptions, the volcano blasts rock, ash, magma and other materials from its vent. This material that flows out travels through the air and falls back to earth in the area surrounding the volcano. If the ejected material is compacted and cemented into a rock, that rock will be called tuff, said geologist S G Vilad kar, visiting faculty at the Centre for Extra-Mural Studies (CEMS), Mumbai University .
At Dharavi and Vidyanagari (Kalina), the soil-testers have come across basalt with silica and quartz fragments. At Sahar Road, MIDC, another form of basalt called compact Breccia was found. Breccia is a composite, coarse rock.
The exhibition on rocks, minerals and archaeological antiquities is a huge draw among school children. This year on display will be the pre-historic tools found near Tulsi lake, which is inside Sanjay Gandhi National Park. These tools are believed to be approximately 30,000 years old. Another significant artefact on display will be the plaque from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre referring to Mumbai as `Mahim Bimbasthan' inscribed on it in the Nagari script dating as far back as 1368.
The fragmented inscription is a shashan patra (government notice) referring to king Hambirrao and announcing the appointment of a desala (administrator) and a donation. There are also references to Marol, Nanale (near Mankhurd) and Deonar. King Hambirrao, a vassal of Firoz Shah Tughlaq, is mentioned in the Mahikavatichi Bakhar (News of Mahim), a detailed account of Mumbai between the 11th and 16th Century AD, before Shivaji.
Last year, following the discovery of seven new caves at the national park, the CEMS, along with department of ancient Indian culture, Sathaye College, and the INTUSCEN Trust, an NGO which funds explorations, carried them out in Mumbai and Thane. The explorations threw up antiquities dating back to 10-13th century AD, some of which will be on display at the exhibition that will be held from December 15 to 18.
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