Geological origin


Geological origin

Lonar Lake lies within the only known extraterrestrial impact crater found within the great Deccan Traps basaltic formation of India.[10] The lake was initially believed to be of volcanic origin, but now it is recognized as an impact crater created by the hypervelocity impact of either a comet or a meteorite. The presence of plagioclase that has been either converted into maskelynite or contains planar deformation features (PDFs) has confirmed the impact origin of this crater. It is argued that only shock metamorphism caused by hypervelocity impact can transform plagioclase into maskelynite or create PDFs. The presence of shatter cones, impact deformation of basalt layers comprising its rim, shocked breccia inside the crater, and non-volcanic ejecta blanket surrounding the crater are further proof of the impact origin of Lonar crater. As a result of the studies, broadly, the geological features of the Lonar crater has been marked under five distinguishable zones, exhibiting distinct geomorphic characteristics.[11]
The five zones are:[12]
  1. The outermost ejecta blanket
  2. The crater rim
  3. The slopes of the crater
  4. The crater basin, excluding lake
  5. The crater lake


The lake was first mentioned in ancient scriptures such as the Skanda Purana, the Padma Puran and the Aaina-i-Akbari [13] The first European to visit the lake was British officer, J.E. Alexander in 1823.
Buldhana district in Maharashtra, where the lake is located, was once part of Ashoka's empire and then of Satavahana's. The Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas also ruled this area. During the period of the Mughals, Yadavas, Nizam and the British, trade prospered in this area. Several temples found on the periphery of the Lake are known as Yadava temples and also as Hemadpanti temples (named after Hemadri Ramgaya).[14]

Religious setting

Numerous temples surround the lake, most of which stand in ruins today, except for the temple of Daitya Sudan at the centre of the Lonar town, which was built in honour of Vishnu's victory over the giant Lonasur. It is a fine example of early Hindu architecture.[15] Vishnumandir, Wagh Mahadev, Mora Mahadev, Munglyacha Mandir and Goddess Kamalaja Devia are the other temples found inside the crater.[16]

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