5. What are shields? Discuss their economic significance.
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A Shield is a large, tectonically inactive mass of Precambrian crystalline rock that underlies most of a continent. They are exposed cratons on the earth surface.
A shield’s rocks are igneous and metamorphic in origin and contain some of the oldest rocks on Earth. Shield areas in general are regarded as continental nuclei. Topography of the continental shield is flattened by the erosion due to its stable area.
Magma contains ferrous and non-ferrous minerals. Cratons which are blocks of magma when exposed as shield bring these mineral resources to the surface.
- Rich resources propel primary and secondary economic activities like Mining.
- Help in industrialization by providing much needed raw material base for setting up industries.
- Earn forex reserves through exports.
- Employment opportunities and overall economic development in the region by acting as a growth pole.
- The Canadian Shield is rich in natural resources, including minerals, forests and freshwater. Mining began in the region in the mid-19th century and was key to Canada’s economic development. Various minerals and precious stones have been mined or continue to be mined on the Shield, including gold, silver, copper, zinc, nickel, iron, uranium and diamonds.
- The Singbhum Shield is the area where Jharkhand is situated. Since it’s a shield region, there is an abundance of minerals and ores like occurrence of iron, chromite, manganese and silver ores. Hence Jharkhand is a state of Mines, Minerals and Industries.
Based on their location Shields are also known to provide other economic benefits like
- Canadian Shield area: with forest cover there is growth of lumber industry. Its topography with numerous rivers and waterfalls has helped in the generation of hydroelectric power.
- Baltic shield: with glacier retreat shield depressions have turned into lakes supporting inland transport in Sweden and Finland.
- Dharwad Shield with laterite soil has promoted development of building materials like bricks.
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