During the academic year 2019-20, the Department of Geology continued in its endeavour to train their students through actual field exposure in various geological setups as fieldwork is a fundamental aspect of Geology and it also forms an  integral part of their curriculum and internal assessment.

Starting with first-year students, we train them to observe the various aspects of field geology along with skills to communicate these observations in the form of a scientific report. This year day-long field visits were organised for the first-year students to two field locations, one in each semester, to teach them local geology where various volcanic features were explained to them along with some concepts of geomorphology, the first in an area around Uttan and Gorai in August and the second to Elephanta island in January. The field party consisted of 89 students and were guided by Dr. Hrishikesh Samant, Dr. Shweta Patil and Mr. John D’Souza.

For the second-year student’s 3-day geological fieldwork was conducted at Nagpur, was organized in January. The field party consisted of 44 students accompanied by Dr. Goutam Bandyopadhyay, Dr. Bobby Mathew and Dr. Shweta Patil, aimed at training students to incorporate some of the concepts related to geology, stratigraphy, economic geology and identification of rocks and minerals. Part of their itinerary included a visit to the museum and drill core repository of Geological Survey of India, where students studied the various rocks, minerals and fossils, including a special display on human fossil skulls, dinosaur’s eggs as well as a visit to an underground manganese mine operated by Manganese Ore India Limited (MOIL) at Munsar. They were also able to see and study the coal deposit in an open cast mine operated by Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) located at Bhanegaon. In both, the mines specimen were collected by the students. They also carried out outcrop studies in and around Nagpur city where inter-trappean rocks and exposures of metamorphic origin ranging in age 2300 to 2100 million years were studied.

The annual field camp for third year students took place in Malvan, Maharashtra, where students were trained rigorously in geological mapping techniques using both traditional Plane Table survey and also using high precision instruments like Total Station, for ten days by Dr. Hrishikesh Samant and Dr. Ashwin Pundalik. This field training included an in-depth study of the geological features and structures, as well as collecting samples to study the petrological characteristics of the rocks exposed in the area. The students were taught aerial photography of terrain features using a drone and interpretation of such drone photos helped students in understanding the geological structure of the area. Apart from detailed geological mapping, the students also carried out beach profiling, rock strain analysis, and large-scale structural mapping. They visited areas around the Gad river in Kankavli where some of the oldest rocks in peninsular India are exposed.

The first-year post-graduate students visited Kachchh to study the Tertiary rocks. A twelve days geological fieldwork consisting of 17 students and guided by Dr. Shweta Patil and Mr. John D’Souza, aimed at training students in some of the concepts related to stratigraphy, sedimentology and palaeontology, mainly in Tertiary rocks. Five formations of Palaeogene age were studied in detail along with a visit to the limestone mine of UltraTech Cement in Harudi-Kharai villages and their cement plant at Sevagram.


Internships by Students:

Our M.Sc. part II student Mr. Santapriya Mukherjee completed an internship in Divecha Climate Center for Change (DCCC), IISc, Bangalore on the topic “Training on Glacier studies and Remote Sensing”. Five of our postgraduate students got selected under CSIR-Summer Research Training Programme-2020.

A 3-day national workshop comprising of 8 lecture sessions delivered by eminent personnel from reputed institutes and organizations was organized on Sedimentology and Palaeontology for the postgraduate and research students, where Dr. R. Nigam, former deputy director and scientist at N.I.O, Goa delivered the keynote address. A post-workshop field visit was also organised for participants to demonstrate the principles of the same, covered in lecture sessions. A 1-day workshop on ‘Selected problems and solutions in Structural Geology’, was organized for our postgraduate students, Prof. Soumyajit Mukherjee from the Department of Earth Sciences, IIT Bombay was the resource person for this workshop.

The TERRA lecture on ‘First formed Solids: Records from the earliest times in the Solar System’ was by our alumnus Dr. Prajkta Mane, a postdoctoral Fellow at the Lunar & Planetary Institute, NASA.

As a part of our annual Prof. R. N. Sukheswala Memorial Lecture Series, a lecture was delivered by Prof. Peter Molnar from the Department of Geological Sciences, the University of Colorado on “The gradual closing of the Indonesian seaway, and the onset of Northern Hemisphere Ice ages” and another on ‘Tectonic Unrest in Himalaya and Sahyadri-West Coast Belt’ by Padma Bhushan Prof. K.S. Valdiya who is a renowned geologist and an authority for Himalayan geology.

Dr. Ashwin Pundalik conducted an online course on “Story of India- Evolution of Indian continent” for students from across India and abroad.

The Department of Geology participated in an exhibition organised by the college as a part of the popularization of Science event and Xynergy 2019. During the two days of the exhibition, rare specimens of fossils and meteorite samples were displayed.

Besides teaching, department faculty members have been active in the field of research and consultancy.

Dr. Pravin Henriques attended a webinar on Revised NAAC assessment and accreditation: Nurturing quality culture organised by IQAC cluster India in association with Yogeshwari Mahavidyalaya, Ambajogai and participated in a webinar on Cyber awareness and security for academics in the new normal.

Dr. Bobby P Mathew participated in the National Field workshop on ‘Iron Ore Deposits of Hosapete- Sandur at Hosapette, Bellari District, Karnataka by Geological Society of India, Bengaluru and presented a poster in the Mumbai University Minor Research Project presentation titled ‘Morphometric analysis and Hydrogeological investigation of a sub-watershed of Vaitarna River, Palghar district, Maharashtra’. Mr John D’Souza attended a workshop on “Geoinformatics for Earth Sciences and Natural Resource Management’’ at Department of Geography, University of Mumbai and attended an online  course on ‘Revised NAAC Assessment & Accreditation: Challenging and the path to move ahead ‘organized by IQAC-Wilson College and IQAC Cluster India as well as an online course on ‘Research Methods and Techniques’ organised by Ramanand Arya D.A.V. College. Dr. Bobby Mathew and Mr. John Dsouza also attended an International Online Colloquium on “Recent Trends in Geology (RTG-2020)” organised by Department of Geology, Periyar University PG Extension Centre.

Dr. Ashwin Pundalik delivered two guest lectures, one organized by Himalayan Society for Heritage and Art Conservation (HIMSHACO) and TATA Trust, at Ranibagh, Nainital, titled “Stone deterioration and conservation” and the second titled “Material technology and deterioration of stone” organized under the Capacity Development Programme in Built Heritage Studies & Conservation, by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay and Sir J. J. College of Architecture.

Dr. Pravin Henriques continues as the Chairman Board of Studies for Geology of Mumbai University and Dr. Bobby P. Mathew and Dr. Ashwin Pundalik are the other members. Dr. Pravin J. Henriques and Dr. Bobby P. Mathew were also invited to join the Board of Studies of the Department of Geology, K.J Somaiya College of Science & Commerce, Vidyavihar.

Dr. Ahswin Pundalik and Mr. John D’Souza have been instrumental in generating revenue for the department and college through their consultancy in petrography.

Dr. Samant was invited to be a member of the Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production & Curriculum Research, ‘Balbharati’ - Geology Board.

This academic year Ms Akshya Deshpande and Ms Nishka Vaz, both alumni, joined the department as ad hoc teaching faculty. Ms Akshaya later joined Shell India as a Scientist, whereas Ms Nishka joined GIA India Laboratory Private Limited. Mr. Tarang Sarin, MSc part II student secured 44th rank in the CSIR-UGC (JRF & NET) exam.

Dr. Shweta Patil
Assistant Professor, Department of Geology

Additional information