Jhalawar is rich in non-metalic minerals. Extensive deposits of acid resistant sandstone and splittable limestone occur in the area. Minor deposits of bentonite, clay, ochre and glass sands are also found. There are some 400 Kota Stone (commercial name for locally found limestone) cutting and polishing units at Jhalawar and Jhalrapatan towns.
Sandstone is an excellent building stone. It can be chiseled and dressed to a smooth surface in various attractive shapes. Sandstone has a verity of uses such as roofing, flooring, paving, paneling, beams, pillars, arches, doors and window sills, wall facing, fence posts, milestones etc. It is especially useful for exterior cladding in sea shore buildings due to its acid and thermal resistant properties. As such the effect of saline winds is negligible on sandstone. It is also suitable for use in chemical industries as flooring, wall fixing and lining due to its acid and alkali resistant properties. It is also suitable for carving and making windows and jallis. Sandstone is being quarried and used for centuries and a number of historical buildings and monuments such as Budhist Stupas of Sarnath, Red Fort, Sansad Bhawan, Rashtrapati Bhawan, and National Museum in Delhi; Chhitar Palace, Jodhpur etc. are made of sandstone.
Rajasthan is an important sandstone producing state of India. Because of its regular bedding, uniform grain size, suitable nature and durability, Rajasthan sandstone has been used extensively not only in Rajasthan but also in Northern India and even exported to Canada, Japan, and the Middle East countries. Recently some entrepreneurs have tried cutting and polishing sandstone. Due to the straight/curved lines of bedding/current bedding and attractive figures developed due to iron solutions, the cut sandstone looks very attractive after polishing. This has resulted in its use in place of granite/marble.
The main sandstone horizons in and around Jhalawar area are the Jhalrapatan Sandstone which belongs to the Semri Group of Lower Vinhyans, and the Lower and Upper Bhander Sandstone which belongs to the Bhander Group of Upper Vindhyans. Jhalarapatan Sandstone is acid proof, fine-grained, hard, compact and of different colours such as white to buff-grey, red, cream, brown and spotted brown. The Lower Bhander Sandstone is usually medium to fine grained, purple, reddish-brown in colour with pale white bands and is compact, massive and having quadrangular joints. The Upper Bhander Sandstone is reddish-brown in colour with cream spots.
The Jhalarapatan sandstone exposure extends to Kota and Baran and covers an area of about 120 sq.km. The sandstone is being quarried at number of places around Khimuch, Barwas, Kanwas (Kota), Anta, Kishaganj, Baroda, Salpura Dara-Nimoda, Uchawad, Atru, Bapawar (Baran). In Jhalawar, sandstone is being quarried in the form of slabs and columns. The main quarrying areas around Jhalawar are Jhalarapatan, Loharia ki Dhani, Manak Chawk, Bagdhar, Bakaspura, Asnawar, Bhanwrasa, Bhalta, Mandana, Modak and Aklera. All these quarries are located in the Jhalrapatan Sandstone horizon. The Bhander Sandstone quarries exists near Ambala and Laxmipura. Main sandstone quarries can be seen by clicking here. The Jhalrapatan sandstone can be chiseled and dressed to a smooth surface in various attractive shapes. The non-spilitable sandstone, which was hitherto considered of not much value, is being cut and polished as tiles and various other artifacts. Jhalrapatan Sandstone is also being quarried in Khimach, Borawas and Kanwas in Kota district. Khimach is an important area where white sandstone in regularly produced.
A narrow band of flaggy limestone within the Suket shales is the source of dimension stone in the vicinity of Jhalawar. The limestone is fine grained and variously coloured – greenish blue, pale brown, beige and dark brown. Known commercially as Kota Stone, it is an excellent building stone, used mainly for exteriors, pathways, corridors, driveways, balconies, commercial buildings etc. Many hundreds of quarries and processing centres are located in Ramganj Mandi, Suket, Chechat, Manpura and Morak. Geological reserves of this commodity are estimated to be over 2000 million tons. The stone tends to flake over a period of time. However, periodic polishing using polishing wax can minimize this problem. Also, the stone lacks the luster compared to Marble or Granite. But Kota Stone competes in the market on account of its lower cost and durability.
Another aspect that the Kota Stone loses to Marble and Granite is the size. Its maximum sizes are around 240 cm in length and 75 cm in width. This is on account of the brittleness of the limestone. So, when flooring is done, especially large spaces, the number of joints are more which is not very aesthetically pleasing.
Similar flaggy limestone is also available in Cuddapah district of Andhra Pradesh. The limestone is being exported to a number of countries in Europe, the USA, Canada, Japan and Singapore. Important export varieties are Kota Blue, Kota Brown etc.
Numerous occurrence of silica sand are known for over a century in the study area but the control of occurrence is still vague. On the basis of studies conducted by Ramasamy et al (1988), with the help of remotely sensed data, it is envisaged that fractures trending in N-S and SW directions are shear fractures exhibiting faulting, slipping and silicification. These fracture systems are thought to be responsible for silica sand formation and are favorable loci for search.
Though sandstone covers much of the area around Jhalawar town, the overall geology of the area consists of an interlayered sequence of shales, sandstones and limestones. The fracture zones in rocks, which may be clearly deciphered in the high resolution imagery in the form of ribbons of relatively dense vegetation trending in a general NE-SW direction, are sites of promising aquifers for ground water. A further narrowing down of the target areas for ground water is made possible on the basis of virtual mapping of the area. Overlaying the village locations in the study area, as digitized from the Survey of India topographic map No. 54 D/2, it became apparent that more than 60 percent of villages are located along the Jhlrapatan Shale/Jhalrapatan Sandstone contact. Ground verification revealed that these locations had the best groundwater potential on account of the impervious nature of the Jhalrapatan Shale beneath the Sandstone. Among the different sets of lineaments/fractures the NE-SW trending set, owing its origin to the extensional phenomenon, form the best tapping zones for ground water.
Location of Sandstone and Limestone quarries in Jhalawar: Sandstone quarries are shown as red dots, Limestone quarries are shown as blue dots.
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