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SANTUBONG, April 9 — With its many natural geological formations dating back millions of years, the 311,246-hectare Sarawak Delta Geopark (SDGp) is a treasure trove for nature lovers and history buffs.
Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg is hoping the resource rich area will be gazetted a national geopark soon and is confident it will also gain international recognition from Unesco.
He said his state government had made a pitch in November 2019 for the SDGp to be marked a national geopark, as well as forwarded to the world body to be listed as a Unesco global geopark.
“The recognition will be able to upgrade the socio-economy of the local community in line with the sustainable development, especially post-Covid-19 pandemic,” he said while launching the SDGp at the Sarawak Cultural Village here today.
He said the resource-rich SDGp could be a tourism draw, just like the Gunung Mulu National Park.
“The existing attractions within the Sarawak Delta Geopark include the Bako National Park, Santubong National Park, Wind Cave Nature Reserve, Fairy Cave Nature Reserve,” Abang Johari said.
The chief minister later told reporters that SDGp held many natural wonders not found in other geoparks nationally, like the Jerai Geopark in Kedah, Lembah Kinta Geopark in Perak or even the Kinabalu Geopark di Sabah.
He said the Sundaland basement in the SDGp was formed from one of the earliest sediments in the geological evolution of the Asian region, 355 million years ago.
According to Abang Johari, the SDGp has a complete sequence of the rocks from ancient oceanic crust, aged between 65 and 200 million years — known as the Sejingkat Formation — and is tectonic evidence of the geological evolution of West Sarawak, Borneo and the region.
He said that 220 million years ago, an ancient volcano formed an island arc of shallow sea islands along the edge of the Western Borneo Basement. He said it was known as the Serian Volcanic formation and was one of the earliest igneous activities in Sarawak.
He also said the SDGp is also home to the Bau Limestone, a landform of mature karst aged between 145 and 164 million years old. The magma intrusion of the igneous rock into several older rock formations resulted in mineralisation in Bau that made the area rich in gold.
He added that the oldest terrestrial deposition in Borneo, the Kayan Sandstone formation, dates back 65 million years ago.
On November 21, 2019, the Sarawak government approved a vast delta area of 311,246 hectares for the SDGp, covering the districts of Kuching, Bau, Padawan, Samarahan and Siburan.