There are numerous occurrences of basemetals throughout the 3200 km length of the Himalaya.  Notable mineralization is said to occur in 52 localities across seven of the thirteen districts of Uttarakhand.  There are several old workings of copper in the Lesser Kumaon Himalaya, notably at Rain Agar, Bora Agar, Patti, Dewal Thal, Kanalichhina, Askot, Dhauladevi, Bageshwar, Pokhari and Dhampur.  Mineralization occurs in all kinds of rock formations ranging from the oldest high grade crystalline thrust sheets to the youngest sedimentaries.  Exploration for basemetals in the Himalaya had a late start, gaining momentum only in the 1960s. 

The Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand is notable for its spectacular, glaciated scenery, dominated by deep gorges and summits, many of them above 6000 m.  The mountainous terrain of the district consists of a thrust bound sector.  The Vaikrita thrust separating the high grade metamorphics of the Central Crystallines from the Tethyan sedimentary  sequences in the north runs parallel to the Indo-Tibetan border in the north, while the North Almora Thrust marking the plane of juxtaposition between the overlying older Almora Crystallines and the underlying younger Rameshwar Formation of the Garhwal Group marks the southern extent of the district.  In the northern part, at least 40 percent of the total area of 7199 sq km constituting the district is under permanent ice cover.

This project documented, in general, the mode of occurrence, extent, lithologic, stratigraphic and structural control of known mineralization areas in the district and, in particular, investigated those at Rain Agar and Askot.  It also investigated the prominent wallrock alteration associated with the Askot Mineralization in terms of the alteration mineral assemblages and spectral signatures thereof.  The project also investigated the extent to which geological lineaments in the region influenced geomorphic evolution and metallogeny.

The results shed new light on the role of geological structure in establishing the basic framework of the eastern part of Kumaon Lesser Himalaya.  Linear metallotects resulted from hydrothermal fluids as they passed through fracture systems.  Zones of altered wallrock are found to be aligned with major landforms, as also lineaments identified through processing of multispectral satellite data.  

The project has transformed existing geological datasets into computer compatible formats, and generated new datasets, all of which have been organized in a Geographic Information System and made available in the public domain through this website.  Some datasets have been used to build computer-generated surface models to aid visualization and interpretation of the geology, structure and landscape of the eastern Kumaon region. It is envisaged that these datasets will provide the basis for future, novel interpretative methods that can be used widely to model the nature of metallogeny in the region and identify areas of potential mineralization.

Pithoragarh Project

Main Findings


Other Resources on the www




Wallrock Alteration



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S. Farooq

Department of Geology

Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh - 202 002 (India)

Phone: 91-571-2721150