1. Geology and Rock:
The characteristic geological formation of the reserve, in brief, is gneiss. The groups of rocks occurring within the tract may be classified for forest descriptive purposes as follows:-
• Laterite – High level Laterite and Bauxite
• Quartzite – Quartzite, microcline, epidosite, biotite schist, diopsidite, pegmatite, biotitehillimanite-schist.
• Gneiss – Horneblende- granulite, horneblende- gneiss, diopsidite, biotite gneiss, microcline and quartzaplite,
• horneblende – biotite gneiss. Magnetite, tufa, olivine, epidosite and pegmatite.
• Amphibolite– Amphibolite, pyroxene granulite, hypersthena gneiss, horneblende granulite and quartz.
• Gondwana– Barakar and Mahadeva sandstones, grits, shales, haematite, conglomerate.
• Alluvial– Alluvial deposits consist of silt, sands, clay and gravel and organic matter. All three major rivers North Koel, Auranga and Burha from extensive alluvial deposit in PTR.
As per the information from Jharkhand Space Application Centre (JSAC), the following soil types are found in Palamau TR as per the texture and composition:
1. Loamy, Lithic Haplustalfs/ Fine, Typic Paleustalfs; 36
2. Fine, Typic Paleustalfs / Fine-loamy, Ultic Haplustalfs; 78
3. Fine-loamy, Typic Ustochrepts / Fine-loamy, Typic Haplustalfs; 39
4. Loamy-skeletal, Lithic Ustorthents / Fine-loamy, Ultic Haplustalfs; 15
5. Fine, Typic Haplustalfs / Fine-loamy, Typic Ustochrepts; 24
6. Loamy, Lithic Ustorthents / Fine, Typic Rhodustalfs; 20
7. Fine, Tyipic Paleustalfs / Fine, Typic Rhodustalfs; 22
8. Coarse-loamy, Typic Ustorthents / Fine, Rhodic Paleustalfs; 21
9. Fine, Typic Rhodustalfs / Fine-loamy, Typic Ustorthents; 41
The terrain is undulating with several hills and valleys. This forms several primary and secondary level streams in the area. The elevation ranges from 200 to 1700m MSL.
4. Rainfall, Rivers and Streams:
Palamau Tiger Reserve is drought-prone area due to rain-shadow effect. Most of the rainfall is received from the southwest monsoon. Mean annual rainfall is 1075mm. Rainfall is higher in the southern portions than northern portion. There are two perennial rivers- North Koel and Burha and many non-perennial rivers, streams and nallahs like Auranga, Satnadiya, Panchnadia, Kohbarwa, Aksi, Pandra , Surkumi, Kotam, Chipru, Jawa, Charu etc. Many aquifers locally called ‘Chuan’ are also present. A sulfur hot spring ‘Tatha’ is present near Barwadih.
The climate is typically tropical monsoonic type with four distinct seasons:
i. Winter: Mid- November to mid- February
ii. Summer: Mid- February to mid- June
iii. Rains: Mid- June to mid- September
iv. Autumn: Mid- September to mid- November
Winter temperatures can sometimes dip to 4º C. The summer season is very hot and dry and sometimes temperature can reach 45.5º C in the northern portion. The southern areas, being at higher altitudes and with denser forest cover, are comparatively moderate in summer. Frost occurs almost every year, especially in the grassy blanks, but usually it is not of a severe nature. The area is dry with very low humidity during March to early May. Depending upon the season relative humidity in the mornings ranges from 68% to 83% where as it is 25% to 75% in the evenings.
Hot winds blow during day, roughly between 0900 hrs and 1700 hrs in the months of April and May. These have a severe effect on forest fires. These winds are locally known as the loo across northern India. The loo is more intense in the northern part of the reserve than in its southern parts. Strong monsoonal winds are noticed towards the end of summer. The area is drought prone.