Feb 11, 2017

fragmentation.. a universal phenomena

After years of seeing rock formations across Karnataka, a thought occurred.. that rocks break down as time goes by. Rocks eventually break down naturally because of Nature's forces.. the hot & cold cycles and erosion by wind & water. There could be other reasons as well such as seismic vibrations. Most of us have heard of the concept of Pangaea which  says that a supercontinent existed millions of years ago which broke apart and the pieces drifted away. The theory was formed with lot of supporting evidence. If the theory is applied to rock formations or rock hills, we have the same result. Rocks break apart and drift away.

From my journeys, we are looking at Savandurga Betta, the largest monolithic hill of Asia. On the hill are individual boulders - surely they would have been part of the original mass once. During one of the visits, on the eastern face, I was on a steep part, with every step I could hear a mild crunching sound. When I looked down, I noticed that a centimeter thick layer had separated itself. For a moment I was still.. wondering if I disturbed the equilibrium and set off an avalanche. No such thing happened, I carefully climbed back to less steep part. The point is that the layer would eventually fall off the face and many years later another layer would come off and so on.

Savandurga - Asia's largest monolithic hill
Now we are looking at the rocks of Rishyamukha Betta. What once upon a time was a monolith is a heap of boulders now. And these rocks will further break down into smaller pieces.. probably a million years from now this would be a dirt hill.

Rishyamukha Betta - boulder heap hill of Anegundi
Close to Rishyamukha Betta is this rock formation. A monolith long time back has broken into several pieces. Here the pieces still have sharp corners. The gaps have increased because of wind and water erosion. Million years later this might look more like Rishyamukha hill.. less of sharp cornets and more of rounded boulders.

While Nature plays the role of demolisher, it resorts to some fun at times. Here's one delicately balanced rock formation found near Koppal. This rock formation is around 50 feet tall. Call this a fragmenting in style :)

Acrobatic Rocks of Chikkasoolekere
Here's another beauty at Kutkankeri hill near Badami. For some reason wind has concentrated its force on a particular part of the rock. Our guide Fakirappa (seen in the picture) could jump on to the rock and reach the neck. The body and head are held by the neck barely 1½ feet in diameter. Its quite possible this hill had half a dozen similar formation once upon a time.

beauty of Kutkankeri hill
Here's another kind of rock formation seen on the hills of Badami and Kutkankeri. This particular one was sen on the way to Sidlaphadi, the natural rock cave inhabited during prehistoric times. Notice the cracks at the base of the lump, its slowly but surely getting separated from the rockbed.

Rock lumps of Hiregudda, Badami
This we can call mom & child. The child will leave the mom in years to come. That's what happens in human families too. Children grow up and leave parents.. fragmentation again. It's a natural process.. can't be stopped.

seen on hill opposite Jatinga-Rameshwara hill near Ashoka Siddapura
Before I end this post, I would like to show one example of fragmentation. This was seen on Malleshwara Betta near Huliyur. A granite block has shattered into pieces and the crack lines create an outline of Ganesha. I'd noticed it only when a blog contact pointed it out.

fragmented rock forms a Ganesha
Nothing is forever.


Nikhil said...

Wonderful overview of this aspect from your travels Siddeshwar. Thanks for sharing. Realised I have missed some of your easier posts :) heart bleeds when I see the hills cut down. There is so much natural beauty and things to see in any hill, especially in Karnataka. Nothing is for ever, true. I do hope sharing more on geology and letting people see and appreciate it will help protect them.

siddeshwar said...

Thank you, Nikhil. Your profile picture, a form of Swastika, evokes a thought that there's a cycle - fragmentation followed by fusion.