Muslims in the history of Manipur

Herojit Nongmaithem

Herojit Nongmaithem

Herojit Nongmaithem is a senior Geologist at Geological Survey of India North Eastern Region. He is a regular contributor of Imphal Times and writes articles relating to Geology.
Herojit can be contacted at [email protected]

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March-April; a perfect timing to discuss the water scarcity and its possible solution. One of the likely solutions is rain water harvesting (RWH) with the concept of supplying for domestic use and natural ground water recharge. These purposes; for domestic supply is need of the hour to be done by individuals while ground water recharge is for the government or the concerned department for a long-term solution.Rainwater harvesting is the collection and storage of rain, rather than allowing it to run off which could be used at destitute times.Rainwater is collected from all the surfaces;roof tops, lawns, roads, fields, etc and redirected to a tank, cistern, deep pit (well, shaft, or borehole), aquifer, or a reservoir with percolation, so that it seeps down and restores the ground water.

In the simplest way, rain water harvesting can be summarised to three steps; a source, an appropriate process/method and finally a good storage or reservoir.India as compared with the rest of the world receive a good amount of precipitation by virtue of its geographical extent and location. The issue is about adopting an appropriate method of harvesting the rainfall and storing them in a proper way. Here come the geological inputs for a long-term mitigation procedure for a successful rain water harvesting.

Petrology, Structural Geology, Geomorphology, Quaternary sedimentology, Remote sensing, Hydrogeology are some of the branches of Geology which plays a vital role in ensuring a proper volume of the source; rainfall and the best natural site for recharge of the ground water. Petrology deals in study of the rocks which helps in studying the permeability (penetrability) and porosity (voids and space) of the rocks which ultimately describes whether the rock is a good reservoir or not. In context to Manipur, majority of the rocks belongs to shale and sandstone except a little igneous rock in the eastern margin bordering Myanmar. Shales are less permeable to impermeable and less porous as compared with sandstones. Hence, sandstones are more suitable as a reservoir rock than shales and our state have enough sandstone rocks which would yield good ground water. Structural geology deals with folds, faults, tectonics which cut across the rocks. Our state belongs to the active tectonic region of the Indo Myanmar Ranges. The hills, valleys and the surface topography of a region can be understood by understanding the geomorphological parameters. The run off, the catchment of the river, its dynamics are also studied in geomorphology. All the major rivers of the state namely Barak, Imphal, Thoubal, Iril, Nambul, Ijai and other important rivers have enough catchment area that can be utilised for recharging the groundwater. The recent sediments in the Imphal Valley are required for detailed study to ascertain the better sites for extraction of ground water. Hydrogeology deals with aquifers and water tables. All these branches of geology can be interrelated, overlaid, and used categorically with the remote sensing techniques and the modern Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS now has a plethora of uses starting from geo-tagging any geological data and then correlating with demographic and urbanization indices.

Few scientific researches in Imphal Valley suggest that both surface water and groundwater fall below Global Meteoric Line & Local Meteoric Line meaning the source of water is the infiltration of the modern precipitation. Hence rainfall is the main source of water in the valley. Ahanllup, Chingkhu, Keithelmanbi,Loktak, Sugnu and Thanga have been suggested as the best suited aquifers by different scientists in the Imphal Valley for recharging the groundwater in the valley. Let’s not forget the issue of contamination of ground water with arsenic and fluoride which are a global issue. Arsenic contamination in several localities dominantly in Kakching area have been reported.

Keeping the pace of urbanization and urban agglomeration at Imphal City, population explosion and exponential increase in water demand, rain water harvesting with geological aspects can provide an enduring mitigation to the problem of water scarcity. The trend of global warming is no exception but the natural gift of rainfall and geographical features are a boon to our land. As told earlier, the source of rain water is abundant. Adoption of a good methodology and a good reservoir are vital in making rainwater harvesting a panacea to water scarcity. Thus, geological data and information should be incorporated while formulating any long-term plan by the concerned departments. 

(Note: The contents of the article are personal views of the author and are not related to any organisation.)

By: Herojit Nongmaithem
A devastating earthquake of 7.8 magnitude struck Turkey/Syria border areas on February 6, around 4:15 a.m. local time. With a series of aftershocks largest of which were M7.5 and M6.7 have already caused death over more than 5000 peoples and thousands more injured as on Tuesday, the 7th February, 2023. Such mega earthquakes are common in the world causing huge disasters in terms of fatalities and infrastructural buildings and other properties as well. The region along Turkey-Syria border is tectonically governed by the East Anatolian fault system and has a history of twelve earthquakes of ÃM6.0 during the last two decades. What provokes the scientists rather the seismologists are the prophecies based on the planetary geometry as a probable case of precise prediction that has gained a mammoth populace amongst the general public.
The planetary geometry model of predicting earthquake became an instant hit when Frank Hoogerbeets, a Dutch researcher from the Solar System Geometry Survey (SSGEOS), predicted the devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria three days ahead in his twitter account. The tweet that have more than 34 million views and said, “Sooner or later there will be a ~M 7.5 #earthquake in this region (South-Central Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon)”. The tweet that apparently proved to be correct was posted on February 3, was followed by more than 1.87 lakh followers. However, many of the seismic intellects have counter reacted to this model.
The basic idea of this planetary prediction is that the alignment of planets and other celestial bodies can have a gravitational pull on the Earth that can trigger seismic activity. Mr. Hoogerbeets also elaborates these earthquakes are always preceded by critical planetary geometry, as on 4-5 Feb. However, this idea is not supported by scientific evidences and has been discredited by the vast majority of seismologists and geologists. The prediction of earthquakes is a complex process that involves a thorough understanding of the Earth’s geology, plate tectonics, and seismic activity. There is no evidence that planetary alignment has any significant impact on the likelihood of earthquakes. In at least one case reported in the mainstream media, Hoogerbeets made a similarly audacious prediction of a massive 8+ magnitude earthquake that was seemingly imminent in late December of 2018. To its contrary there were no records of an earthquake anywhere on the earth except a M7 earthquake that hit Philippines on 29th Dec, 2018. With enough predictions, even if most do not pan out, given that dozens of tremors occur around the globe every day, it is not impossible that one forecast hits the bulls eye.
Lunar tides within the Earth are bigger and so more likely to be the immediate trigger of an earthquake, but won’t be the cause of earthquake. This statement is the key for the present moment since the science behind earthquake prediction is still an active area of research and the current methods used by seismologists involve analyzing patterns of seismic activity and studying the Earth’s crust to identify potential areas of increased risk.
Keeping such views in mind and considering the possibility of a mega earthquake (±M8) in the Bangladesh - North East India region being postulated by many workers, its high time we focused ourselves in aseismic designs in all the construction and infrastructural set ups to minimise causalities.
(The author is a Senior Geologist, GSI, Imphal Office)


The history of satellite imageries can be traced long back in the mid of 20th century when the Americans launched V-2 flight on October 24, 1946 to take images from a height of 65 miles. Subsequently, the first satellite (orbital) photographs of Earth were taken on August 14, 1959 by the U.S. Explorer 6.In the early 21stcentury satellite imagery became widely available as it was affordable, easy to use software with access to satellite imagery databases were offered by several companies and organizations.These images have many applications in meteorology, oceanography, fishing, agriculture, biodiversity conservation, forestry, landscape, geology, cartography, regional planning, education, intelligence and warfare. Nowadays, 3D maps usually created from radar images are also available which are used in multiple ways with the help of specialized remote sensing software for image interpretation and analysis of satellite imageries.
These satellite imageries came into limelight in recent times when the home ministry of the Indian government suggested to conclude the border tussle between Assam and Mizoram. Mr. Amit Shah, the Union Home Minister, Govt. of India entrusted he North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC), a joint initiative of the Department of Space and North Eastern Council (NEC) has been roped in to do satellite mapping of border areas to scientifically demarcate the inter state boundaries in the north east India.
The historical boundaries are often geographic features like, rivers, ridges, roads, etc. It has been proven that such natural features can be mapped and monitored spatially as well as temporally. Scientifically, this is a very practical perspective owing to the optimum accuracy of the satellite data. Much of the tussle in the natural boundaries; geographic features such as ridges, rivers and roads will be well monitored and mapping can be done upto cm scale. Theoretically, an inch of land for both the states will brought to justice. If this legacy is maintained, such border disputes between Manipur-Nagaland, Assam-Nagaland, Assam-Manipur can be brought to an amicable solution. However, it is not that simple. It requires best temporal satellite imagery data, skilled personals and above all an unbiased perspective that would be accepted by both the parties.
The scientist community still feels befuddle, that this satellite mapping could engulf the historical perspective. The author is of the opinion that, the real wrangle between the two states is of ancestral issue that has been contentious by the two states. Even though, the mapping would be cent percent true, ground and spot validation is of supreme importance. Spot validation by the locals with authorities and the subject experts will be the need of the hour. Once, a harmonious solution accepted by both the parties uproar in, similar approach can end bigger issues like those in Mao, Dzuko and even in border pillar issues with Myanmar. It will all depend on whether, human conscience accepts the scientific temperament or not. Still feels to say dialogue will prevail above the scientific disposition.
The writer is Senior Geologist, GSI, Imphal Office.

Wednesday, 09 December 2020 17:46

Diamonds - a dream or reality in Manipur

In the last couple of days, Diamonds are becoming the talk of the town specially in north eastern states of India. News of occurrences of diamonds at Wakching village in Mon District of Nagaland has been a wildfire thing through various social media platforms-whatapp and facebook, print and electronic media. As the legendary actor; Sean Connery-James Bond Movie reads “Diamonds are forever” the possibility of occurrence of diamond in our north eastern states still feels uncertain.

After several reports, photographs and viral videos of occurrence of diamonds in Nagaland, the state authority ordered a thorough probe to its reality. Nagaland state officials inspected and denied those crystals as diamonds. The harsh reality of diamonds at Wakching village reveals that those crystals happen to be ordinary quartz crystals. For reader’s digest, the quartz crystals are very common and do occur abundantly throughout the globe and in many parts of Manipur as well. Let’s quickly have a comparison on the similarities and differences between quartz and diamonds. Both are crystal forms and sometimes it’s intriguing to differentiate between the two.  Some quartz varieties are coined as Herkimer Diamonds due to its uniqueness and similar properties with that of diamonds. Herkimer Diamonds are brilliant, water-clear crystals show the classic 18-sided, doubly terminated hexagonal form. Diamonds form into octahedrons (two pyramids stuck together at the base) while quartz forms into hexagonal columns with a pointed tip. A diamond is much harder than quartz and the chemical formula is C and is composed of carbons whereas for quartz, it’s SiO2 and made of silicone dioxide. Diamonds are isometric whereas quartz is hexagonal and diamonds have a greasy lustre whereas quartz can have vitreous, resinous and dull lustre.
 It’s not that hard or either costly to test whether a substance is diamond or any other crystal. The stone that scratches the glass without showing any damage to the crystal is diamond while quartz will abrade the glass but it will also get bruised down. Diamond conducts heat much better than quartz. A refractor will quantify the refractive index of diamond (2.417–2.419) and that of diamond (1.45–1.46).
Conventionally diamonds are reported from the older and cratonic rocks around the world.  These diamonds are hosted by certain rocks called kimberlites, lamproites which are characterised by high pressure and temperature. Though such rocks are not found in Manipur-Nagaland, scientific reports and experts’ view hold the possibility occurrences of diamonds in the Indo-Myanmar ranges covering the large portions of Manipur and Nagaland.  These rocks are so called the ophiolite suite of rocks which are deep seated ocean rocks that got obducted over the continental rocks. A rational rough estimate approximately about 8% of the total exposed surface is covered by ophiolites in our state. During the 90’s Bai and party (1993) reported occurrences of diamonds in many areas in ophiolite rocks. Yang and party (2014) in their study have confirmed the common presence of microdiamonds in both ophiolitic peridotites and chromitites from different localities in China, Russia, and Myanmar. Nayak and Meyer (2017) reproduced the magenilmenite, a possible indicator of microdiamonds in Pokhpur area, Nagaland.
Owing to the above scientific theories, the states of Manipur and Nagaland have enough ophiolite rocks that can host microdiamonds. These won’t be big enough as those of the Wangching village. Studies are on by different organisations to unravel these oceanic, deep seated rocks. The dream to quench the thrust of finding microdiamonds won’t be that long. Let’s hope for a bright reality where our state is endowed with natural resources and we can endeavour to utilize them to the fullest.

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