Tuesday March 23, 2004

Klang Gates Quartz Ridge - Precious monument

THE Klang Gates Quartz Ridge, situated within the Bukit Lagong-Kanching-Klang Gates region, is documented as the longest of its kind in the world, spanning more than 14km long and 200m wide.  

It is also one of the country’s most valuable geological monuments, according to Professor Dr Ibrahim Komoo. Prof Ibrahim is chairman of the Geological Heritage Group, a grouping of geologists formed in 1999 and based at the Institute for Environment and Development (better known by its Malay acronym, Lestari) in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). 

Lestari’s role in the development of the proposed Selangor state park is to advise TrEES on the geological aspect of the study area.  

This came about when Lestari sent in a proposal for the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge to be made into a geological monument, while at the same time, TrEES also sent its proposal to have a State Park which covers a bigger area. 

The Town and Country Planning Department of Selangor (JPBD) studied both proposals and combined them into one proposal, which is to develop the state park to include a geological monument at the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge. 

In terms of geological importance, the quartz ridge is internationally recognised as a world-class geological site, based on its importance in terms of the Earth’s history as well as its universal scientific value which extends beyond the national boundary, making it a heritage of the world.  

Nevertheless, the most important factor that makes it so significant and so unique is the sheer size of the ridge, and the fact that it consists of 100% pure quartz, making it the single largest pure quartz dyke in the world. 

The most spectacular part of the ridge is its mid-section, which stretches 4km-5km from Taman Melawati to the National Zoo.  

Prof Ibrahim explained that most of the major quartz veins are concentrated around Kuala Lumpur and Seremban because of the old Kuala Lumpur-Mersing fault zone. During tectonic folding millions of years ago, hydrothermal quartz was thrust upwards by massive buckling and faulting in the Earth’s crust and then crystallised.  

The Klang Gates ridge was actually formed together with the granite rock of the Main Range but eventually, weathering and erosion wore away the granite, leaving the narrow spine of the quartz ridge. 

Due to its close proximity to the city, the ridge has been encountering several pressures and disturbances. Certain areas along the ridge have already been assigned to private owners, and when the owners do something on the land, it will affect the quartz ridge as well.  

On the southern side of the ridge, most notably the part that overlooks Taman Melawati, development has gone right up the ridge itself. 

“The area supporting the ridge includes several hundred metres of land in the south and northern part, so any disturbances will affect the ridge,” says Prof Ibrahim.  

“In fact, further west of the ridge, one part was cut flat seven or eight years ago for development. Twenty years ago, the ridge used to have beautiful quartz crystals all over the place, but it’s all gone now. Most of the crystals were taken away by collectors.” 

Although part of the ridge (10%-20% of the total length) has been destroyed or disturbed due to mining, the topography of the area is so severe that it is no longer economical to mine quartz from the ridge. As the ridge is a natural habitat of the serow (mountain goat) as well as many endemic species of flora and fauna, the area was made a wildlife reserve. 

Most large quartz ridges have rich deposits of gold. In fact, gold is usually associated with quartz, and most of the gold mining activities in the world focus on quartz ridges. 

According to Prof Ibrahim, in the 1950s, the British had studied the quartz ridge and were disappointed that it had no gold deposits. 

“If the Klang Gates ridge had gold, it would have been mined 50 years ago by the British and we wouldn’t have a ridge there now!” adds Prof Ibrahim. – By Michael Cheang

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