Scientists Find Evidence of ‘Lost’ River That Flowed through Rajasthan’s Thar Desert 1,72,000 Years Ago…

(📸: J. Blinkhorn)

By @MrigDixit
Today, the Thar Desert, situated in the northwestern part of the country, is a barren desert with no trace of any moisture. But, 1,72,000 years ago, this Great Indian Desert hosted a brimming stream of a large river, says new research.
Evidence suggests that the lost river flowed through the central Thar Desert near Bikaner.

Geographically, the desert is located partly in Rajasthan, with its other part stretching towards eastern Pakistan in Sindh.
Altogether, the arid land—covered with dunes—stretch to a whopping 2,00,000 square km area.

The latest study comes as a surprise for many as the desert is now completely inhabitable for human settlements.
Nevertheless, scientific studies conducted in recent years have showcased that the belt—stretch of the Thar Desert from Arabia and the Sahara—could have supported humid climatic conditions tens of thousands of years ago.
As per the official statement, prior studies of satellite images have also shown a large and dense network of river channels crossing the Thar Desert.

During the research, a particular finding which intrigued researchers the most was the flow of the river during the...
...weak monsoon activity. The findings indicate that the strongest river activity at Nal occurred approximately 1.72 and 1.4 lakh years ago. This was the time when the monsoon was much weaker in the region—even weaker than what we see today!
The study was conducted by examining the deposits of river sands and gravels exposed by quarrying activity near Nal village, outside Bikaner in 2014 and 2019. Through this, the team was able to understand and find evidence on different phases of the river activity.
To examine the evidence further, researchers used the technique of luminescence dating, which helps to reveal the period for which the minerals were exposed to sunlight.

As per the study, after these years only limited evidence for the presence of a river system documented...
...from the site. The scientists are further working to understand the regions where the river flowed. The analyses conducted through the satellite images suggest a link to the Himalayan river source like the Sutlej.
The Thar Desert plays a crucial role in understanding the past weather patterns and how environmental changes led to the migration and adaptation of early humans to new regions.

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