March 20, 2023
  • A rare low-altitude basalt plateau has been discovered in Thane region in Western Ghats (a global biodiversity hotspot and UNESCO World Heritage site in India).
  • This is the fourth type of plateau to be identified in the region; previous three are laterites at high and low altitudes and basalt at high altitudes.
  • 76 species of plants and shrubs from 24 different families have been found.
  • Plateaus are dominant landscapes in Western Ghats. They are classified as a type of rocky outcrop.
  • Rocky outcrops are geological features that protrude above the surface of surrounding land.
  • They are formed by weathering that happens at different rates, causing the less weathered rock to remain exposed.
  • They are found on all continents, in most climate zones and vegetation types.
  • Significance of rocky outcrops
    • Support high levels of species diversity and endemism.
    • They have seasonal water availability, limited soil and nutrients, making them ideal to study effects of climate change on species survival.
    • They provide critical breeding sites for many top order mammalian and avian predators; nesting sites for colonial species such as seabirds, bats and swifts.


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