Ziraat Times News

Srinagar, Oct 14:

In a significant development, Kashmir’s 250 million year-old fossil site, that is known to be a repository of world’s oldest geological history, has finally received global recognition.

The Penn Dixie’s Natural History Society  (World’s No 1 Fossil Park) in Hamburg, USA, has released the resolution to collaborate with Kashmir’s prominent environmental think tank, Environmental Policy Group (EPG)’s Centre For Himalayan Geology to assist and develop Kashmir Triassic Fossil Park at Guryul Ravines, Khonmoh, some 15 kms from summer capital of Srinagar near Pampore.

“The Penn Dixie Board of Directors has confirmed that Kashmir Triassic Fossil Park as one of the world’s geological treasures”, Faiz Bakshi, who is the convenor of Kashmir Policy Group told Ziraat Times.


The fossil site at Pampore, Kashmir.

“It is a like a dream come true. We have been working for this recognition for many years now”, Abdul Majid Butt, Kashmir’s globally-recognised geologist, told Ziraat Times from the United States, where he has been pursuing the recognition for some time now.

Although the Khanmoh site has been known to geologists from across the world for some time, its immense importance to global geological history has only been recognised now.

Phil Stoke, Head of Penn Dixie Fossil Park believes that the site in Kashmir has fossils that recorded the Permian-Triassic extinction event that occurred 250 million years ago, when approximately 90 percent of all marine species, including trilobites, and 70 percent of all terrestrial vertebrate species, were wiped out, leading to the rise of the dinosaurs.

Most notably, there is evidence of the Earth’s most deadly extinction event at the end of the Permian Period — 252 million years ago. During this global disaster 96% of all marine species — including trilobites — and 70% of all terrestrial species became extinct. Many causes are suspected.

Recently, geologists from the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, China, Japan and Scotland have visited the site.


The Penn Dixie Executive Director Dr Phill, Director Finance and Abdul Majid Butt displaying the agreement in New York (Photo: EPG)

In 2016, Mr. Butt and the Environmental Policy Group of Jammu and Kashmir created the Kashmir Triassic Fossil Park, an international preserve of scientific and educational value which captures evidence of Earth’s largest extinction event at the end of the Permian Period. Penn Dixie partnered with the new fossil park to offer guidance and share information with its Kashmiri counterparts.

“Abdul Majid Bhat travelled to United States and on 25th of August, 2018 made a PowerPoint presentation on Kashmir Triassic Fossil Park to the Penn Dixie, New York with whom EPG has been communicating for the past 2-3 years”, Mr Bakshi told Ziraat Times.

“The EPG acknowledges the noteworthy roles of former Governor  N.N.Vohra, the Present Governor  S. P. Malik, Commissioner Department Of Culture, Saleem Shishgar, Dr. G.M.Bhat (Presently University Of Jammu) the faculty , Researchers and students of Department Of Geology, University Of Kashmir; the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir; the former Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar,  Farooq Ahmad Lone; the Former Director Tourism-Kashmir, Mehmood Ahmad Shah; the Deputy Director Tourism, Riyaz Ahmad and many journalists, columnists & writers who contributed in highlighting the importance of Guryul Ravines”, EPG said in a statement  today.

The EPG hopes that with this significant forward movement the people of Jammu & Kashmir will see the development of internationally-acknowledged and historical “Kashmir Triassic Fossil Park “ becoming a reality in coming days, Mr Faiz said.