Journal of Earth System Science

, Volume 117, Issue 4, pp 489–498 | Cite as

Migration of the Ganga river and its implication on hydro-geological potential of Varanasi area, U.P., India

  • U. K. Shukla
  • N. Janardhana Raju


Borehole data reveals that during Late Quaternary, the Ganga river was non-existent in its present location near Varanasi. Instead, it was flowing further south towards peripheral craton. Himalayan derived grey micaceous sands were being carried by southward flowing rivers beyond the present day water divide of Ganga and mixed with pink arkosic sand brought by northward flowing peninsular rivers. Subsequently, the Ganga shifted to its present position and got incised. Near Varanasi, the Ganga river is flowing along a NW-SE tectonic lineament. The migration of Ganga river is believed to have been in response to basin expansion caused due to Himalayan tectonics during Middle Pleistocene times.

Multi-storied sand bodies generated as a result of channel migration provide excellent aquifers confined by a thick zone of muddy sediments near the surface. Good quality potable water is available at various levels below about 70 m depth in sandy aquifers. Craton derived gravelly coarse-to-medium grained sand forms the main aquifer zones of tens of meter thickness with enormous yield. In contrast, the shallow aquifers made up of recycled interfluve silt and sandy silt occur under unconfined conditions and show water-level fluctuation of a few meters during pre-and post-monsoon periods.


Gangetic Plain Ganga river Quaternary channel migration hydrological potential Varanasi 


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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeologyBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia

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