Geological Survey of India, nodal agency for meteorites collection
The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has been made the sole custodian and curator of all meteorites within the Indian boundary, its Director General Dr Dinesh Gupta said Monday. It has recently been declared as the nodal agency for collection, preservation, registration, and dissemination of all meteorite falls/finds within the country, he said.
"Henceforth, all the meteorite falls/finds within the Indian territory are to be registered in the National Meteorite Repository (NMR) of India at the city's GSI immediately after its collection," Gupta said. The declaration was made by the Ministry of Mines in a notification on November 2 and is due to be published in the Gazette of India shortly, the GSI director general said.
Headquartered in Kolkata, the GSI was set up in 1851 and the collection and systematic cataloguing of meteorites has been in practice in GSI since 1865 when entire meteorite collection of Professor Robert Philip Greg was purchased by the then Government of India, he said.
The collection now adds up to nearly 700 meteorite samples. These precious extraterrestrial samples are displayed at the city's National Meteorite Repository at Meteorite and Planetary Science Division. "Meteorites are of significant importance and often holds clues to formation and evolution of stars, provides age and composition of the Solar System and its evolution, and often hints at the formation of life," Gupta said.
Geoscientists of GSI are actively involved in research activities on meteorite along with renowned institutions such as the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) Ahmedabad, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore, the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMDER) New Delhi etc.
(With inputs from agencies.)