The Geological Survey of India (GSI) is planning to procure a geo-technical vessel which will have drilling facilities. “The Geo-technical ship is expected to reach us in another 24 months. Order has already been placed with a Singapore company,” GSI Director General M Raju told PTI here. “The ship will add to the existing fleet of three vessels with GSI.” “So far the available three ships did not have drilling facilities. Whatever samples we collect is through grab samples only. Now this ship, we are going to procure very soon, can drill about 30 metre from the sea bed,” Raju said.
“With such type of facility definitely we can drill more from sea bed. It will definitely be useful to work out the actual size of sea bed and estimate the actual depth of any mineral resource,” he added. Referring to the sea bed mapping by GSI, Raju said “GSI is in process of carrying out sea bed mapping since 1965.” Sea bed mapping involves profiling of sea bed, sampling of sea bed at regular intervals and involves complete scanning of sea beds within territorial waters and beyond territorial waters, he explained.
The GSI official also talked about the ‘High Resolution Sea bed Mapping and Natural Resource Evaluation’ since 2014 undertaken by three research vessels — Samudra Ratnakar, Samudra Kaustabh and Samudra Saudikama. Of the three vessels, with the induction of state-of-the-art research vessel ‘Samudra Ratnakar’, equipped with high end scientific instrument, focused offshore exploration cruises were planned and executed and delineation of potential mineral zones were conceptualised using the high-end scientific equipment on board, he said.
Many cruises were completed in the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea for mineral investigation, high resolution topographic mapping, multichannel seismic survey and many other projects of national importance. The mineral investigation cruise, taken up as part of an annual programme of GSI, established occurrence of valuable offshore minerals like lime mud and phosphorite. Multi channel seismic survey capability of the vessel enabled the establishment of gas hydrate in sub-surface layers of Mannar basin.
Besides the high-resolution multi-thematic mapping in the Arabian sea and Andaman sea gave an insight to future search areas for mineral occurrence, he said. Referring to the cruises taken off Gujarat coast, the top official said, it showed 10,000 million tonnes of lime mud spread over an area of 4300 sq km. “Our exploration have identified certain areas of lime mud deep into sea bed.” On the other activities of GSI, he said, “We do our sea bed mapping. Indian Navy sometimes ask for our services and we help Indian Navy in different projects, especially sea bed mapping.”