Himalayan rocks fast weathering, depleting carbon dioxide: scientist

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Panaji, Sep 27 (UNI) Faster chemical weathering of Himalayan rocks has been contributing to global cooling in the region, with its river basins rapidly absorbing emissions of the noxious green house gas such as carbon dioxide, says a study.

''That earth has been cooling since the last 55 million years is well established by scientists. But the contribution of the young and growing mountains of Himalayas to the cooling is much more than the global average,'' claims nuclear oceanography expert Prof S Krishnaswami.

Prof Krishnaswami was part of the group that had been studying various potential geochemical aspects of Indian rivers for the last 15 years under the aegis of the prestigious Physical Research Laboratories, Ahmedabad, one of the 38 laboratories under the umbrella of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Recipient of top science awards including fellowship of the American Geophysical Union and now senior scientist of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA), Prof Krishnaswami was here to deliver the CSIR Foundation Day lecture on 'Erosion in River Basins of India: Causes and Consequences' at the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO).

Interacting with this UNI correspondent on its sidelines, he said the group was yet to undertake the study of the South Indian river basins, even as it had finished the research on Ganga-Brahmaputra rivers under the Himalayan region besides the Indus and Krishna rivers.

The rapid chemical breakdown of rocks in the Himalayan region has been contributing to the equally rapid control of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, thus resulting in lowering of the temperature, he said.

The extent of the decrease in temperature and the quantum of the carbon dioxide drawn-down is yet to be studied on other river basins, he informed.

Prof Krishnaswami said oceans occupy 95.96 per cent of the earth followed by 2.97 per cent by ice caps and glaciers, 1.05 per cent by ground water, 0.009 per cent by lakes and 0.0001 per cent by the rivers.

In this connection, he quoted a Srimad Bhagwatam saying ''O King' the rivers are treath. The passing eges are His movements and His activities are the three modes of material nature.'' UNI

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