UPSC Prelims News of 5 December 2022
Context: A newly discovered dinosaur fossil from Mongolia’s Gobi desert has been named Natovenator polydontus.
About the Dinosaur:
- The dinosaur lived about 72 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period
- Features: It was built like a diving bird while possessing a goose-like elongated neck and a long flattened snout.
- Its mouth was covered in more than 100 small teeth, and whole body was covered in feathers.
- Its limbs appeared flattened, most probably as an adaptation for paddling and swimming.
- Habitat: The dinosaur was adapted to a semi-aquatic lifestyle in a freshwater ecosystem. It may have used its flexible neck to catch fish and insects or diving underwater to capture its prey.
- The Gobi Desert is a vast, cold and arid region located in northern China and southern Mongolia. It is the largest desert in Asia.
- Most of the desert area is dominated by an extraordinary arid environment, with dark-colored rocky outcrop.
- Minerals such as copper, gold, and coal are abundant in the desert. The desert is also famous for its many dinosaur fossils.
Red Coastal Sand Dunes
Context: Scientists have urged the Andhra Pradesh government to protect the red coastal sand dunes of Vishakhapatnam.
About the Coastal Red Sand Dunes:
- Location: Known as ‘Erra Matti Dibbalu’, they are located about 20 km north-east of Visakhapatnam city.
- The site is about 18,500 to 20,000 years old and it can be related to the last glacial period.
- Formation: Erra Matti Dibbalu were formed due to sea-land interaction. The dunes comprise of a mixture of sand (40-50 percent), silt and clay (another 50 percent) with oxidation giving the unique red colour.
- Features: The area displays badland topography with different geomorphic landforms, including gullies, sand dunes, buried channels, beach ridges, paired terraces, the valley in the valley, wave-cut terrace, knick point and waterfalls.
- Significance: These sand deposits are part of the continuation of the evolution of the earth and represent the late quaternary geologic age.
- Such sand deposits are rare and have been reported only from three places in the tropical regions in south Asia.
- Teri Sands in Tamil Nadu and Kudiramalai point in Sri Lanka have such unique sand formations similar to Erra Matti Dibbalu.
- Such features do not occur in equatorial regions or temperate regions due to many scientific reasons.
- The site is also archeologically important as it possibly contains Mesolithic and neolithic cultural materials as well.
- Protection: This site has been declared as a geo-heritage site by the Geological Survey of India (GSI) in 2014.
- The government of Andhra Pradesh has listed it under the category of ‘protected sites’ in 2016.
Kanger Valley National Park
Context: Chhattisgarh’s first-ever inter-state bird survey was conducted in the Kanger Valley National Park from November 25-27, 2022.
- Bird watchers and forest department officials counted 200 types of birds.
- Nine species of owls (including the spot-bellied eagle-owl), 10 birds of prey, 11 species of woodpeckers (including white-bellied woodpecker, the largest woodpecker in peninsular India), and many other species were documented during the survey.
- Survey was organised by the forest department of and birders from Chhattisgarh, in collaboration with non-profits Birds & Wildlife of Chhattisgarh and Bird Count India.
- Unique Landscape of Kanger Valley can potentially host species found in the Himalayas, the Northeast, the Eastern and Western Ghats.
- Significance: Periodic bird surveys can help monitor the health of the national park’s bird populations for conservation and showcase to the world the unique diversity of the region.
About Kanger Valley National Park:
- The name of Kanger Valley National Park is derived from the Kangar river, which flows in its length.
- Kanger Valley got the status of a national park in the year 1982.
- It is a typical mixed humid deciduous type of forest, in which the Sal, Saugaun, teak and bamboo trees are available in abundance.
- The most popular species in this area is Bastar Maina (state bird), is a type of Hill maina (gruncula Dhariosoa), which is capable of emulating the human voices.
Context: Indonesia’s Mount Semeru volcano erupted recently prompting authorities to evacuate nearly 2,000 people.
About the Mount Semeru Volcano
- It is an active volcano located in East Java island of Indonesian archipelago.
- It is the highest mountain on the island of Java and sits on the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’.
- It is located in a subduction zone, where the Indo-Australian plate subducts under the Eurasia plate.
- Type of Volcano: Semeru is a stratovolcano composed of alternating layers of solidified lava, hardened ash, and volcanic rocks.
- Type of Eruptions: Eruptions of Semeru have been characterized by Vulcanian and Strombolian explosions, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, lava domes, and lahars.
About the Pacific Ring of Fire:
- The Ring of Fire, also referred to as the Circum-Pacific Belt, is a path along the Pacific Ocean characterized by active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes.
- Roughly 90% of all earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire, and the ring is dotted with 75% of all active volcanoes on Earth.
- Many volcanoes in the Ring of Fire were created through a process of subduction.