Scientists excavate ‘Ancient River’ in Uttar Pradesh

News: The Jal Shakti Ministry has excavated an old, dried-up river in Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) that linked the Ganga and Yamuna rivers.


About the river:

  • The “ancient buried river” is around 4 km wide, 45 km long, consisted of a 15metre-thick layer buried under soil.
  • It joins the Yamuna River at Durgapur village, about 26 km south of the current Ganga-Yamuna confluence at Prayagraj.

Significance of the Discovery: It can be developed as a potential groundwater recharge source

Additional Information:


  • A channel that is no longer part of an active river system and has ceased to be a conduit of water is commonly referred to as a palaeochannel.
  • Some of the channels lie buried under the cover of younger sediments.
  • They are parts of misfit rivers and streams representing channels abandoned by migrating rivers as they shift their courses and cut new ones.
  • Palaeochannels are commonly occurring landforms in alluvial landscapes.
  • Economic significance:
    • use in the exploration for freshwater resources, artificial recharge and storage of ground water;
    • they are of importance in the location and assessment of mineral deposits such as uraniferous ores, gold, silver and other placer deposits hosted in them

Paleochannels in India:

  • The erstwhile Ministry of Water Resources had constituted a seven-member committee, headed by Professor K.S. Valdiya of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR).
  • The Committee submitted the “Report on Palaeo Channel of North West India: Review & Assessment” in 2016. The major findings were:
    • The banks of one of the misfit rivers, the Ghaggar-Hakra-Saraswati-Drishadvati, is associated with multiplicity of palaeochannels.
    • Evidence from palaeochannels suggest that the mythological Saraswati River did indeed exist. River Saraswati originated from Adibadri in Himalaya to culminate in the Arabian Sea through the Runn of Kutch. It was approximately 4000 km in length.