Evolution of the Himalaya and the origin of the monsoon




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Following the success of the Indian continental shelf program and considering the wealth of geophysical data collected in the course of the Program, in 2009 the ESSO initiated action aimed at deep sea drilling in select locales of the Arabian Sea under the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) - an international marine research endeavour that explores Earth's structure and history recorded in oceanic sediments and rocks and monitors sub-sea floor environments. Subsequent to ESSO’s Associate membership in IODP, NCPOR embarked on a long-term program directed towards a Science Plan of activities that could be taken up in concert with IODP, development of core competence at a national level that could be involved in the deep sea drilling program, and finalisation of a specific proposal for scientific drilling in the Arabian Sea taking into consideration the IODP Guidelines in this regard. Since joining IODP, Indian scientists and researchers have been participating onboard IODP expeditions around the world to get hands on experience in ocean drilling. India is also a member of Science Advisory Structure (SAS) and Science Planning Committee (SPC) of this multi-national mission.


India’s proposal “Deep sea drilling in the Arabian Sea: Discovering the tectono-climatic unknowns” currently under review with the IODP,   primarily aims at recovering deep sea cores from five different sites from the Arabian Sea to:

  1. Obtain high-resolution climate records from regions of high pelagic sedimentation in the Arabian Sea (vs. records of Himalayan erosion in the Indus Fan);
  2. Reconstruct the erosion response of the western Himalaya to proposed monsoon strengthening at 8 Ma; and
  3. Recover Paleogene sediments from Arabian Sea to understand significant issues pertaining to the evolutionary history of this region such as offshore extension of the Deccan Traps and the Mesozoic sediments beneath them, and the nature of crust in the Laxmi basin area of the Arabian Sea.