Monday, November 16, 2015

National Fossil Wood Park, Sathanur, Perambalur

National Fossil Wood Park, Sathanur, Perambalur
National Fossil Wood Park is located in Sathanur Village in Perambalur District of Tamilnadu. This park is located within Sathanur Panchayat and has a fossilized tree trunk, which was discovered in 1940 by renowned geologist Dr. M. S. Krishnan of the Geological Survey of India, who hailed from Tanjore. The petrified tree trunk is believed to be over 120 million years old and is considered to be evidence for the presence of a sea during the Cretaceous period in this area.

Sathanur, a remote village in Perambalur district, now finds a place in tourism map, thanks to ‘Kal Maram.' Fossil trees were found along the stream sections near Varagur, Anaipadi, Alundalipur and Saradamangalam. As part of the tourism development works, a fossil museum will be set up adjacent to the tree. The trees belong to conifers (non-flowering) that dominated the land vegetation during the period.

The Fossils
This fossil is of a conifer, measures around 18 meters long and a geological treasure. Similar fossilized tree trunks have been found in nearby Varagur, Anaipadi, Alundalipur, and Saradamangalam, all located within a 10 km radius of Sathanur. Geological study shows that more than 120,000,000 years ago, the sea (which lies today about 100 Km. East of Sathanur) had transgressed as far as 8 to 10 Km West of Sathanur. During this period which is geologically known as the cretaceous, the sea abounded in a variety of marine animals similar to those found in the present day sea. These animals, after death, sank to the bottom and were buried by sands and clays brought down by the rivers.

Along with them some of the trees which flourished on the seacoast or near shore were also buried after transport by flooded streams and were petrified in course of time. The large trunk of petrified tree, which can be seen here, lies within the Trichinopoly group of rocks of about 100,000,000 years ago. This tree shows the presence of Conifers (The non-flowering plants) that dominated the land vegetation prior to the advent of Angiosperms (the flowering plants of the present of day).

This national park is frequently visited by geologists and nature lovers throughout the year. Early visitors (1960s to 1980s) caused some damage by collecting samples for their research or in their college or university labs. Now it is well fenced and guarded. This national park is open to public throughout the year. However, September to February is the best period to visit to enjoy the cool weather and to view the thriving tropical agriculture greenery.

A tourist restroom had been constructed near the site at a cost of Rs.12.82 lakh and it is functional. The approach roads to the site and around it have been blacktopped. An overhead water tank and a bus shelter have been built. The district administration is scouting for a suitable site to set up a children's park.
This Park is situated at about 700 m north of the Sathanur village which can be approached by NH-45 connecting Chennai with Tiruchchirappalli up to Siruvachur village. From Siruvachur an unmetalled road connects Sathanur village which is about 14 km eastward. Buses also run regularly from the new Perambalur bus-stand to the Sathanur bus stop. Visitors can then walk or take bicycle to reach the park. Sathanur is located at about 14 Kms from Siruvachur, 22 Kms from Perambalur, 15 Kms from Ariyalur and 66 Kms from Trichy. Nearest Railway Station is located at Ariyalur and Nearest Airport is located at Trichy.