S. Farooq  
Department of Geology
Aligarh Muslim University

email farooq.amu@gmail.com

Virtual Geological Field Trip to Jhalawar


As a pre-field orientation program, I welcome all my M.Sc. I semester students to this Virtual Field Trip to Jhalawar and surrounding areas.  This virtual visit to the field has been designed as a pre-field exercise to help you understand the Vindhyans exposed in the southern part of Rajasthan their geology, tectonics, structure, and economic potential.  It will also show you the most important sites of geologic (and other) interest in and around the town of Jhalawar and the neighboring district of Kota in Rajasthan state which we shall visit during January 2013.  I'd appreciate if you were to read an account of the geology and mineral resources of Jhalawar and the neighboring Kota district (parts of which are included in our survey), as documented by the Department of Mines and Geology, Government of Rajastan.

Virtual Geological Mapping

Virtual geological mapping of the Vindhyan terrain around Jhalawar is proposed to be accomplished by interpretation of satellite imagery in conjunction with existing geological maps and other data, particularly the geological map of Ramasamy and Bakliwal*.  Major geological formations comprising Semri, Kaimur, Rewa and Bhander groups of Vindhyan Supergroup, Deccan Trap and recent fluvial sediments will be interpreted from two levels (i.e. ground and space) surveillance data.  The GeoEye data of May 2012 currently available on Google Earth for the Jhalawar region shows a panorama of contrasts which may be interpreted in terms of geology and structure.  Superimposition of the aforesaid geological map on Google Earth allows the interpretation of major lithological contacts and structural features in satellite images.  To learn about superimposing maps in Google Earth, see the note at the end of this paragraph.  Notice that the satellite image shows a variety of lineaments which may be interpreted (in conjunction with the geological map) in geological terms.  Stone quarrying, particularly in the west and northwest of Jhalawar, with all its evident degradation of land, is also decipherable in satellite images.

NOTE:  To superimpose any map or other attribute data in this article on Google Eartn, you will need to have the latest version of Google Earth installed on your computer.  The map or other data can then be superimposed by simply clicking on the link in this web page, which will automatically open the data in Google Earth.  If this doesn't work, then the downloaded file can be simply opened in Google Earth by double clicking.

Interpretations of satellite images need to be verified through field work.  During the field trip, checks will be made in places by conventional field mapping for part of the area.  A comparative assessment of the data producing capability and accuracy of these methods will be made from this study.

Whereas it may not be possible to characterize the petrological and mineralogical characteristics through interpretation of available satellite data, the variation in these characteristics in all major rock formations are mappable in satellite imageries.  Use your knowledge of interpretation of satellite imageries to visualize all such variations, and use the Add Path tool in google earth to demarcate these.  Save your drawings in your map folder, so that we may add/modify these during later sessions of the virtual geological field trip.  Mark all features which you think will require detailed investigations in the field.  Note the locations (in lat/long) of all places you want to visit in the field so that you may use the Goto function of your GPS receiver to take you to the exact location.

Tools/procedures used for this Virtual Geological Field Work:

Google Earth is a virtual globe browser, arguably the most popular of those available for free on the Internet. Virtual globes allow users to interactively display and investigate geographic data (primarily satellite and aerial images and terrain models, but also 2- and 3-D vector data such as earthquake locations, water bodies, and buildings). One of the most useful aspects of Google Earth from a geoscience education point of view is the availability of a variety of geoscience-related datasets for free on the web. Google Earth allows users to perform some basic measurements (latitude and longitude, elevation, and size), which has led some users to consider it a variety of GIS software.

What can Google Earth do?


Determining strike and dip in Google Earth

Geology of the area around Jhalawar:  Geology of the area of interest (AOI) has been mapped by taking into consideration the lithological types as identified and depicted in the geological map of the area published by Ramasamy and Bakliwal (1988) and the GeoEye images of the area in Google Earth.  For instance, the Jhalrapatan Sandstone in the geological map is seen as a clear, yellow to light brown, barren (devoid of vegetation) areas in the satellite imagery.  Similarly, as can be seen in the geological map and the imagery, the areas of exposur of Suket Shales are under agriculture.  Therefore whereas the lithology has been identified through published geological maps, geological contacts between lithounits have been deciphered and marked using mltispectral imagery available through Google Earth.

View the geological map of Jhalawar area in Google Earth and see if you can recognize the spectral/landcover signatures of different rock types.

Can you identify some finer distinctions within the identified lithounits?

View the localities map of the area around Jhalawar town in Google Earth: The locations of villages have been digitized from the Survey of India topographic sheet No. 54D/2.  Notice that most villages are located along the contact of Jhalrapatan Sandstone and Jhalrapatan Shale.  Do you think this is just a coincidence?  Or can there be some geological reasons?  What, if any, could be the reason?

Can you, on the basis of your observation, suggest areas suitable for industrial development?

Can you decipher any faults in the area? Take a closer look at the Kali Sindh River channel as it flows east and north of Jhalawar town.  Do you notice that the river, which is generally flowing NNE, takes a series of sharp bends towards NW? 

Could this be a coincidence, or do you think that the drainage here is fault controlled?  Look for evidences of faulting when you are out there in the field.


In the area around Jhalawar, note the relationship of geology with:

  1. Cultivated and uncultivated areas
  2. Human settlements
  3. Density of forest cover
  4. Lineaments
  5. Drainage patterns
  6. Natural and man-made lakes

Keep a detailed record of all your observations, you'll need to verify these in the field.  When you're out there in the field you will need to use your GPS Receiver a lot.  Go through these tutorials in order to familiarize yourself with the GPS technology and also the step-by-step procedure for using a GPS receiver:

Getting Familiar with GPS Technology

Guide to Using a Garmin eTrex GPS Receiver

An excellent tutorial on Goolge Earth can be found here

Take a close look at the geological map and the landcover types and try to decipher geological, structural and lithological details on the basis of these.

General Information about Jhalawar
Geology, Geomorphology and Drainage of Jhalawar
Mineral Resources of Jhalawar
Places of tourist interest in and around Jhalawar

Stereo Imagery of Localities around Jhalawar

* S.M.Rarnasamy and P.C.Bakliwal, "Use of Remote Sensing in lineament analysis for tectonic evolution and resource study of a part of Vindhyan Basin, Jhalawar area, India,". Journal of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 63-71,1988.


This website is hosted by

S. Farooq

Department of Geology

Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh - 202 002 (India)

Phone: 91-9719421011

email: farooq.amu@gmail.com