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Earth of fire

Actualité volcanique, Articles de fond sur étude de volcan, tectonique, récits et photos de voyage

Publié le par Bernard Duyck
Publié dans : #Actualités volcaniques

The Kailasanatha Temple, listed as Cave 16, is one of 34  temples-cave and monasteries known collectively as the Ellora Caves, located in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

Neither caves nor caves, these temples were excavated vertically in a basaltic cliff that stretches for two kilometers, from the top down, to clear the interior rooms, courtyards and open spaces.

The temple recalls Mount Kailash, home of the god Shiva. It was built between the middle of the 8th century and the 9th century, first under the reign of King Krishna first.

The temple of Kailasanatha, excavated in the basalts of the Deccan - photo Y.Shishido

The temple of Kailasanatha, excavated in the basalts of the Deccan - photo Y.Shishido

A medieval Marathi legend seems to refer to the construction of the Kailasanatha temple. According to this legend, the local king suffered from a serious illness. His queen prayed to the god Shiva in Elapura to heal her husband. She promised to build a temple if her wish was granted, and promised to observe a fast until she could see the shikhara (top) of this temple.

After the King's healing, she asked him to build a temple immediately, but several architects said it would take months to build a complete temple with a shikhara. An architect named Kokasa assured the king that the queen would be able to see the shikhara of a temple within a week. He began building the temple from above by carving the rock and was able to finish the shikhara in a week, allowing the queen to give up her fast.

The temple of Kailasanatha, and the pillar in the courtyard, excavated in the basalts of the Deccan

The temple of Kailasanatha, and the pillar in the courtyard, excavated in the basalts of the Deccan

The Kailasanatha Temple - Lithograph by James Fergusson and Thomas Dibdin, 1839

The Kailasanatha Temple - Lithograph by James Fergusson and Thomas Dibdin, 1839

The Deccan traps form a large, 66-65 million year old volcanic province of igneous origin in western India.

The volume emitted in a million years, of which probably more than 80% of flows in less than 500,000 years (Kent C. Condie, in Earth as an Evolving Planetary System, 2005), is currently about 1.5 million cubic kilometers, covering an area of ​​500,000 km². More than half of the initial quantities have been eroded.

Deccan traps are associated with the hotspot of La Reunion, currently at the head of the island of La Reunion. Thus, the Deccan traps were formed when India was 4500 km away of its current position. The hot spots being relatively fixed over time, it shows the displacement towards the North-East of the plate supporting India, since 65 million years.

Traps of the Deccan to Matheran in Western Ghats - photo Nichalp

Traps of the Deccan to Matheran in Western Ghats - photo Nichalp

Location of Deccan traps - Doc. CNRS

Location of Deccan traps - Doc. CNRS

They consist of a stack of multiple flows of tholeitic lavas, forming "stairs" and emitted by many dykes; the layer varies between 2,400 meters in Western Ghats and more than 1,000 meters further east. Some flows have a thickness of 10 to 50 meters.

The environmental impact of these basaltic floods is mainly due to gases (mainly sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and halogens) and sulphate aerosols. It is estimated that the surface temperature of the earth has decreased by 2 ° C over a period of 400,000 years.

 

Sources:

- Unesco - World Heritage - Ellora Caves

- Earth as an evolving planetary system - K.C.Condie 2005

- SVT Versailles - The installation of the traps of the Deccan

- Earth of fire - LIP's - 2. Deccan traps in India.

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