Rice University, Centre for the Study of Environment and Society (CSES), Professor Andre W. Droxler yesterday gave a lecture on the evolution of the Maldive islands at Villa International High School hall.
The open lecture was attended by senior government officials, primary, secondary and tertiary level students, Environment Management students from The Maldives National University and other interested individuals.
Professor André shed light upon the plate tectonic theory and how it relates to the formation of the Maldives. He said that the Darwin’s theory about atoll formation in 1892 was compiled with a very limited data set and that at the time, Darwin had not been aware of the glaciation existed and also the rise and fall of the sea water over extended periods of time.
André stated that the age of the volcanic plateau upon which Maldives resides was exposed for a while and had slowly subsided over time. He also suggested that Maldives is not that old and that it would probably be a few million years old. He said that the age and thickness data is available due to large petroleum companies like Shell which carried out oil and gas exploration activities in the 70s and 80s.
He said that Darwin was only 23 years of age as he started his first journey and that even though he did not visit the Maldives; Darwin had an idea of the theory. André stated that the Maldives was formed over a volcano plateau and that new findings make it more understandable.
Professor André first started his research in Maldives in the year 1985. His findings were mainly based upon Carbonate Sedimentology with emphasis on periplatform carbonate ooze; Paleoceanography and paleoclimatology of the Neogene; Shallow carbonate platforms and deep adjacent environments, evolution, and processes and the drillings by geologists, including a drill performed 3.3km upon the volcanic plateau on which Maldives reside.
He focuses his work on the processes related to recent carbonate sedimentation and the understanding of variations through time of carbonate mineralogy, micropaleontology and geochemistry in periplatform sediments with direct global and regional implications with respect to paleoceanography, paleoclimatology, and paleoecology.
Another objective of his research is to better understand the Cenozoic, especially Neogene, evolution of modern carbonate platforms by means of bathymetric and high resolution seismic surveys, coring and dredging, as well as drilling. In the past ten years, André has been directly involved with the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) and have participated as sedimentologist at four ODP Legs, Leg 101 in the Bahamas (1985), Leg 115 in the Maldives (1987), Leg 133 in Northeast Australia (1990), and Leg 165 in the Caribbean (1996).
Comparisons of these data from the separate locations also give a better perspective of the processes involved and the effects it has on the tectonic movement.