Wilpattu area is predominantly underlain by a sequence of sedimentary rocks and soils. Though they are not visible at the surface everywhere, it can be observed as a cross section near Kudiramalai Point, a typical site to explain the geological significance of the area. Towards the interior of the park, the rocks change in character from Jaffna Limestone to Vijayan series, which is a complex conglomerate of super-crystal rocks, including crystalline Limestone and granitic Gneiss. Other soil types include clays, in areas of major river systems and their tributaries. Some interesting geological formations are described below.

Inland Wetland Ecosystems

Geology at Wilpattu

Geology at Wilpattu

Red Earth

“Red Earth” is a distinct formation of reddish brown coloured surface soil layer which covers about 80% of the Wilpattu area. It is very fine sand with approximately 30% clay and silt and interpreted as originated by marine and aeolian (wind-blown) processes. Appearance of this formation gave rise to the name “Thambapanni”, a historical name of Sri Lanka, meaning “copper coloured earth”.


Sandstone is a sedimentary rock type underlying Red Earth, appearing in dark red colour at Kudiramalai Point just below Red Earth as irregular or conical shaped occurrences. It is a formation of rounded sand particles cemented together by calcareous clay.


Limestone is a sedimentary rock observed at Kudiramalai Point, underlying Sandstone. It predominantly consists of calcium carbonate and contains fossils of marine Mollusca and Bivalves. This Limestone is interpreted as a marine formation formed in Miocene Age (about 23 million years ago).

Inland Wetland Ecosystems


The name Wilpattu is derived from the abundance of “Villu” formations in the area. Several villu are scattered throughout Wilpattu Park which are partly filled with water. These are interpreted as “sink holes” which are results of collapsed cavities underlying Limestone.

Precambrian Bed Rock

Though most of the area in Wilpattu is covered with sediments, the basement rocks of Precambrian Age (formed more than 550 million years ago) are exposed at very few locations. Moderagam Aru river bed at Kokmote is such place where outcrops of Granitic gneiss rocks are found.


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