Fluvial geochemistry of Subarnarekha River basin, India

  • Abhay Kumar Singh
  • Soma Giri
  • Aaditya Chaturvedi


The fluvial geochemistry of the Subarnarekha River and its major tributaries has been studied on a seasonal basis in order to assess the geochemical processes that explain the water composition and estimate solute fluxes. The analytical results show the mildly acidic to alkaline nature of the Subarnarekha River water and the dominance of \(\hbox {Ca}^{2+}\) and \(\hbox {Na}^{+}\) in cationic and \(\hbox {HCO}_{3}^{-}\) and \({\hbox {Cl}}^{-}\) in anionic composition. Minimum ionic concentration during the monsoon and maximum concentration in the pre-monsoon seasons reflect concentrating effects due to decrease in the river discharge and increase in the base flow contribution during the pre-monsoon and dilution effects of atmospheric precipitation in the monsoon season. The solute acquisition processes are mainly controlled by weathering of rocks, with minor contribution from marine and anthropogenic sources. Higher contribution of alkaline earth \((\hbox {Ca}^{2+}{+}\,\hbox {Mg}^{2+})\) to the total cations \((\hbox {TZ}^{+})\) and high \((\hbox {Na}^{+}+\hbox {K}^{+})/\hbox {Cl}^{-}\), \((\hbox {Na}^{+}+\hbox {K}^{+})/\hbox {TZ}^{+}\), \(\hbox {HCO}_{3}^{-}/(\hbox {SO}_{4}^{2-}+\hbox {Cl}^{-})\) and low \((\hbox {Ca}^{2+}+\hbox {Mg}^{2+})/(\hbox {Na}^{+}+\hbox {K}^{+})\) equivalent ratios suggest that the Subarnarekha River water is under the combined influence of carbonate and silicate weathering. The river water is undersaturated with respect to dolomite and calcite during the post-monsoon and monsoon seasons and oversaturated in the pre-monsoon season. The pH–log \(\hbox {H}_{4}\hbox {SiO}_{4}\) stability diagram demonstrates that the water chemistry is in equilibrium with the kaolinite. The Subarnarekha River annually delivered \(1.477\times 10^{6}\) ton of dissolved loads to the Bay of Bengal, with an estimated chemical denudation rate of \(77\hbox { ton km}^{-2}\hbox { yr}^{-1}\). Sodium adsorption ratio, residual sodium carbonate and per cent sodium values placed the studied river water in the ‘excellent to good quality’ category and it can be safely used for irrigation.


Subarnarekha River basin weathering solute acquisition dissolved flux saturation index water quality 



Dr. Soma Giri is grateful to the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India for funding under Fast Track Young Scientist Scheme (Grant No. SR/FTP/ES-185/2010(G)). Authors are thankful to Dr. P K Singh, Director, CSIR-CIMFR for providing the laboratory and other infrastructural facilities and lab colleagues for their help during the study.


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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abhay Kumar Singh
    • 1
  • Soma Giri
    • 1
  • Aaditya Chaturvedi
    • 1
  1. 1.Natural Resource and Environmental Management DivisionCSIR – Central Institute of Mining and Fuel ResearchDhanbadIndia

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