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 Post subject: Namal Uyana - 550 million years old Mountain of pink quartz
 Post Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 5:50 pm 
Namal Uyana - 550 million years old Mountain of pink quartz

@ Sunday Observer

Namal Uyana at Ulpothagama in the Anuradhapura district is famous for its pink quartz mountain and could be the home of one of the world's largest beds of fossilized plants.

The pink quartz mountain range has a history of more than 550 million years and belongs to the prehistoric era. Archaeologists are of the view that this is the largest pink quartz mountain range in South Asia.

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The mineral in the rock is identified as quartz, as it's mainly made up of silicon dioxide (SIO2). In the middle of the earth, there are hot gases, and liquids and rocks explode out of the ground as magma lava. When this magma lava flows out, sometimes, portions of the liquid are retained in the internal spaces. These are formed into quartz. Quartz is a mixture of magma, lava and silicon dioxide and its cells are rectangular.

The pink colour of the quartz has come from a chemical mixture of silicon and titanium. Due to the various types of mineral deposits, part of the soil is not suitable for the growth of plant life.

Initial beliefs are that the fossils in the soil bed could date as far back as over 20 million years. It has been reported that the Indian Moghul King Shah Jehan used pink quartz from this mountain range to build the windows of the Taj Mahal, in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz.

Namal Uyana is said to have been used as a monastery during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa. By the eighth century, during the reign of King Dapulu IV, it had been turned into a sanctuary, where people could flee from persecution and remain free, as long as they stayed within its confines.

Several stone inscriptions giving details of the existence of the Namal Uyana and the sanctuary have been found in the Anuradhapura area.

These also appear in one of the only two octagonal stone inscriptions found in the country so far.

The protected area known as the Namal Uyana consists of 972 hectares of forest cover, of which 260 acres are covered with Na trees.

The mountain range is located 1,050 metres above sea level, and comprises seven hills. Legend says that pink quartz from this area was taken to India to build the Taj Mahal.

The Namal Uyana is home to 62 varieties of local herbs and 18 species of birds. It is also the abode of one out of the 14 rarest chameleon species of the country. Another commonly observed creature in this area is the Monalusca, the snail-like animal that used to be consumed by humans over 5,000 years ago.


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