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17 Jul 2017

GSI study unveils treasure trove of resources in Indian waters

What lies in India's Exclusive Economic Zone?

In an exciting discovery, scientists from the Geological Survey of India (GSI) have uncovered vast resources of minerals and precious metals in deep sea waters around the Indian peninsula.

The quantity and type of resources found including hydrocarbons and metalliferous deposits only represent the tip of the iceberg as to the vast treasure trove that lies in India's waters.

Let's know more on this!

In context

What lies in India's Exclusive Economic Zone?
Why was this done?

Seabed exploration

Why was this done?

The 3 year survey was intended to carry out a 'High Resolution Seabed Mapping' and 'Natural Resource Evaluation' of India's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

According to Ashish Nath, Superintendent Geologist at GSI, "The main objectives were to identify potential zones of favourable mineralization and evaluate marine mineral resources."

Three research vessels: Samudra Saudikama, Samudra Ratnakar and Samudra Kaustabh were used in the study.

What is Exclusive Economic Zone?

Under the UN Convention on Law of the Sea, 1982, EEZ refers to a maritime zone stretching 200 nautical miles from the coast. The country, which the coast belongs to, has exclusive rights for resource exploitation within the EEZ.

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What did they find?

The study succeeded in generating high-resolution seabed morphological data covering 181,025 square kilometres and confirmed the existence of 10,000 million tonnes of lime mud in India's EEZ.

While phosphate sediment deposits were found around Mangalore, Karwar and Chennai, gas hydrates and cobalt-bearing ferro-manganese crust was found in the Mannar basin around Tamil Nadu coast and Andaman respectively.

Manganese micro-nodules were further seen around Lakshadweep.

What does this mean?

GSI data confirms that India's EEZ is indeed rich in resources. It can also be taken to mean that further exploration may unveil a larger resource deposit under the sea, that India can tap into and use for its advantage.

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