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Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Children throng earth science expo

Staff Reporter

‘Models’ lined up ranged from volcanoes to dinosaurs

— Photo: S. Mahinsha

Listening to rocks: Students visit the ‘Earth Science Expo 2007’ in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A ‘smoking’ volcano, pieces of cubic zirconia that can pass for diamonds, GIS maps of the Attappadi hills and soil samples from various parts of Kerala. For those who love earth science and are perpetually curious to know things ‘down under’ the Earth Science Expo-2007 that began at the Students’ Centre at PMG is a must-see event.

The expo is being organised by the association of the old students of the Department of Geology University of Kerala (GOSAN) with assistance from various other earth science agencies. In response to letters sent to city schools by GOSAN there was a heavy rush of children at the expo on Wednesday. The first to arrive were students from St. Thomas Residential School and St. Thomas Central School.

It was a ‘fuming’ model of a volcano that greeted students as the stepped into the auditorium where the expo is on. An official of the Geological Survey of India was standing by to talk the children through the ‘life and times’ of a volcano.

Right next to the ‘volcano’ was a miniature ‘Brontosaurus’ a 35-tonner that lived 150 million years ago and a triceratops that is believed to have lived about 130 to 70 million years ago. Reminding students who were on a Jurassic flashback, that they were in an earth science expo were samples of various rocks – quartz, ammonite, black granite and even a piece of fossilised wood.

The model of a house sporting a rainwater harvesting system, put up by the Central Ground Water Board, caught the fancy of some students.

Some wanted to know the precise manner in which the rain water makes its way into aquifers deep beneath the ground.

Big, multi-coloured maps of groundwater prospects told students the locations in the State where there was over-exploitation of groundwater. Other maps told them that there was an excess of iron content in the groundwater found in Thiruvananthapuram. While there should be iron only to the extent of 0.4 parts per million, the groundwater in the capital city has returned readings over 1 ppm, E. Shaji, organising secretary of GOSAN, explained.

Mystery of soil

The Soil Survey Organisation has put up samples of various soils at the expo. The organisation officials said students wanted to know why certain soils have a particular colour. “They wanted to know why forest soil was black. We told them it was because of the humus content. One student who took some alluvial soil and felt it wanted to know why it felt so sandy. How could alluvial soil be fertile if it were so sandy, he asked. We explained to him the difference between coastal alluvium and riverine alluvium and how it was the latter that was fertile,” an official said.

Floored by stones

Among the exhibits put up by the Department of Geology was a computer with GIS maps and a stereoscope for 3-D reading of maps. The semi-precious stones put on display by the Department of Mining and Geology caught the fancy of quite a few students. These included onyx, lapis lazuli, amethyst, blue topaz and garnet.

A CD containing information on various aspects of geology — prepared by GOSAN — is also available for sale at the expo. The CD is priced at Rs.30.

The expo will be on till November 24 and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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