Original Article

Environmental Geology

, Volume 48, Issue 8, pp 1058-1067

Rapid erosion of the coast of Sagar island, West Bengal - India

  • Girish GopinathAffiliated withDepartment of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Cochin University of Science and Technology Email author 
  • , P.  SeralathanAffiliated withDepartment of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Cochin University of Science and Technology

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Abstract

The coastal zone of the Sagar island has been studied. The island has been subjected to erosion by natural processes and to a little extent by anthropogenic activities over a long period. Major landforms identified in the coastal area of the Sagar island are the mud flats/salt marshes, sandy beaches/dunes and mangroves. The foreshore sediments are characterized by silty, slightly sandy mud, slightly silty sand and silty sand. Samples 500 m inland from high waterline are silty slightly sandy mud, and by clayey slightly sandy mud. The extent of coastline changes are made by comparing the topographic maps of 1967 and satellite imageries of 1996, 1998 and 1999. Between 1967 and 1999 about 29.8 km2 of the island has been eroded and the accreted area is only 6.03 km2. Between 1996 and 1998 the area underwent erosion of 13.64 km2 while accretion was 0.48 km2. From 1998 to 1999, 3.26 km2 additional area was eroded with meager accretion. Erosion from 1997 to 1999 was estimated at 0.74 km2 /year; however, from 1996 to 1999, the erosion rate was calculated as 5.47 km2/year. The areas severely affected by erosion are the northeastern, southwestern and southeastern faces of the island. As a consequence of coastal erosion, the mud flats/salt marshes, sandy beaches/dunes and mangroves have been eroded considerably. Deposition is experienced mainly on the western and southern part of the island. The island is built primarily by silt and clay, which can more easily be eroded by the waves, tides and cyclonic activities than a sandy coast. Historic sea level rises accompanied by land subsidence lead to differing rates of erosion at several pockets, thus periodically establishing new erosion planes.

Keywords

Coastal erosion Coastal landforms Shoreline change Satellite data Sagar island India