The Geology of the territories of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh have been studied in some detail by R. Lydekkar. He has divided the territory into three different structural Zones:
1. The Panjal
2. The Zanskar
3. The Tertiary Groups
These three Geological divisions form the basis of the four physical divisions of the State.
The Panjal forms the Outer plain, the Outer Hills and the Middle Mountains. The Zankar includes the whole of the eastern region from Spiti and Lahol (32.170N. Latitude) to the lofty Karakoram mountains in the north. The Tertiary Groups include the valley of Kashmir and other river Valleys.
The oval valley of Kashmir is longitudinal. It is about 1700 metres above sea level. There is a high wall of mountains round the valley. These rise to a height of 5500 metres above sea level. The only outlet of the valley is Baramulla where the Jehlum flows out through a narrow gorge. The entire drainage of the valley of Kashmir and its surrounding areas have only this outlet. In the north, Kashmir has many volcanic rock formations. These are mostly stratified and several thousand metres thick. There are many layers of sedimentary rocks which are found in Liddar valley, Baramulla, district and Banihal Verinag section of the Pir Panjal range. Limestones and shells are common. The rock layers have many fossils. Near Yarkand to the extreme north, shells have been found showing that the region was under sea in the geological past.
To the south and west of the valley there are karewa formations which are lake-laid clays and shales. These are lacustine deposits and appear like flat mounds on the margin of high mountains. Below these karewas is spread the alluvium of the Jehlum. The highest karewa is near the Pir Panjal. It is 3800 meters above sea level and more than 2100 metres above the level of the Jhelum.
The mountains surrounding the different valleys of the State of Jammu and Kashmir have varied mineral wealth. The first survey of minerals wealth in the State was made by a renowned geologist. Mr. Middlemiss in 1924 in collaboration with the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, but an intensive mineral survey was taken up in the year 1956 when systematic investigation began, as a consequence of which mineral exploitation in the State was organised and developed.
1. Lignite. It is an inferior quality of coal which is found in the valley of Kashmir at Nichahama, Baramulla, Handwara, Chowkibal, Ferozepur nullah, Nagbal, Tangmarg, Raithan, Badgam tehsil, Laligang and Lolab valley. Lignite is a blackbrown coal that is intermediate in coalification between peat and sub-bituminous coal which has a calorific value less than 8300BTU/lb, on a moist mineral free basis. According to the report of the Geological Survey of India, there are lignite coal deposits of about 5 crore 60 lakh tons in the valley. Drilling operations were started first in the Nicahhom- Chowkibal area where the reserves were estimated at 4. 5 million tons to a depth of 40 metres. Lignite is used as a fuel in the valley of Kashmir.
2. Limestone. All the three regions of the State i.e. Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh have deposits of different ages and grades of Limestone. The Limestone of Kashmir is of high quality and is used in the manufacture of cement at Wuyan and Khrew. These deposits exist in Anantnag, Achhabal, Doru, Verinag, Biru, Sonamarg, Ajas, Wuyau, Khrew and Loduv. It is also used as building stone and mortar.
3. Copper ores are found at Aishmuqam, Shubbar area (Anantnag), Lashtil hill spurs (Baramulla), Handwara, Sumbal, Kangan andLolab valley in the province of Kashmir.
4. Iron-ore deposits occur in Sharda (Karnah tehsil), Khrewa, Haral (Handwara), Uri tehsil, Garez (Sopore tehsil) and Lolab valley in Kashmir.
5. Gypsum. It is used for making plaster of paris and chalksticks. The Kashmir province has gypsum deposits at Lachhipora, Baramulla, Anantnag, Liddipora and Kathia Nullah (Uri). There is total reserve of about 4 million tons of gypsum in the State.
6. Ochre. It is used in paints and varnishes etc. There are extensive deposits of ochre in Nur Khawn, Ratasar and Jhaggi in the Uri tehsil. About 4 lak tons of ochre have been found in the State so far.
7. Zinc and Nickelarfound at Buniyar (Baramulla).
8. Fuller's Earth is used in the manufacture of country soap and for filling paper. It is found in Rampur near Baramulla
9. Slate Stone is found in abundance in the valley of Kashmir.
10. Graphite is used in the manufacture of lead pencils and is found in Bararipora, Uri, Karnah, Malogam, Piran in the province of Kashmir
11. Sulphur is found in Pagga valley in Ladakh. In spring water, it is found at Anantnag and Khrewa. The estimated deposits of sulphur in the State are 2,00,000 tons.
12. Marble. Large deposits of marble have been found at Drugmalla, Zirahama, Oura and Trehgam in Kupwara district of Kashmir. This is light brown to dirty grey in colour. This is being used commonly in buildings these days.
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