, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 973–989 | Cite as

The Late Cretaceous-Paleogene Deccan Traps: a Potential Global Heritage Stone Province from India

  • Gurmeet Kaur
  • M. F. Makki
  • R. K. Avasia
  • Bhaskar Bhusari
  • Raymond A. DuraiswamiEmail author
  • M. K. Pandit
  • Fareeduddin
  • R. Baskar
  • Shashi Kad
Original Article


The Late Cretaceous/Palaeogene Deccan Traps, spread over half a million square kilometres in west-central parts of the Indian Peninsula, comprises predominantly basalts and subordinate felsic rocks (rhyolite, trachyte, tinguaites and spilites). The use of Deccan basalts and trachyte in the range of Indian architectonic heritage, from antiquity to current times, is quite fascinating. The abundance and ease of workability of Deccan Trap rocks render them the most preferred building material in all the architectonic heritage structures that document various cultural and ethnic habitations in the west central India. The Buddhist, Hindu and Jain temples of Ajanta, Ellora and Elephanta are the oldest in-situ basalt cave temples, dating back to second century. A contemporary iconic architectonic heritage ‘The Gateway of India’ personifies a majestic edifice built in buff coloured trachyte. In the present times, the Deccan basalts are being quarried for a variety of purposes such as masonry stone for buildings, road metal and as raw material for corrosion-resistant basaltic pipes and basalt wool that are also in great demand internationally. The trachyte quarries are almost extinct and relict trachyte outcrops are preserved in some places in and around Mumbai. The Deccan Trap rocks basalt and trachyte bear testimony to India’s cultural and architectonic heritage, are therefore, the most suitable candidates for according the status of Global Heritage Stone Resource (GHSR) as they fulfil all the requisite criteria specified by the IUGS subcommission on Hertaiage stones referred to as the Heritage Stone Subcommission (HSS). It is worthwhile to mention that both basalt and trachyte of the Deccan Traps are in geographic and geological proximity with each other and this qualifies Deccan Trap province to be recognised as a Global Heritage Stone Province (GHSP) from this subcontinent in consonance with the criteria for GHSP mentioned in the terms of reference given by HSS.


Basalt Trachyte Deccan Traps West-Central India Heritage Stone Resource Province Global Heritage Stone Province 



The authors wish to acknowledge all the persons who helped in making this project possible. Prof. Nitin R. Karmalkar (Vice-Chancellor, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune) is thanked for extending logistic facility, Mr. Sami Makki for organising field trips to various quarry sites in the vicinity of Pune. The Department of Geology, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, is acknowledged for hosting a meet related to the project. A visit to various heritage buildings at Mumbai was possible with the logistic facility organised by Prof. Pravin Henrick (Head, Geology Department, Saint Xavier’s College, Mumbai) and Mr. Pushpak Martin (student, Geology Department, Saint Xaviers College, Mumbai). We gratefully acknowledge them for all their help during our stay at Mumbai. Sincere thanks to Prof. Srinivas Viladkar, Mr. Pushpak Martin, Ms. Anuvinder Ahuja, Ms. Satwinder Kaur, Purva Gadpallu, Dr. Arvind Bhale and Nikita John for sharing photos of various monuments.


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Copyright information

© The European Association for Conservation of the Geological Heritage 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CAS in GeologyPanjab UniversityChandigarhIndia
  2. 2.B-36, Abhimanshri SocietyPuneIndia
  3. 3.Department of GeologySaint Xavier’s CollegeMumbaiIndia
  4. 4.Geological Survey of IndiaPuneIndia
  5. 5.Department of GeologySavitribai Phule Pune UniversityPuneIndia
  6. 6.Department of GeologyRajasthan UniversityRajasthanIndia
  7. 7.Geological Society of IndiaBangaloreIndia
  8. 8.Department of Environmental Science and EngineeringGuru Jambeshwar University of Science and TechnologyHisarIndia

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