Environmental Earth Sciences

, 77:625 | Cite as

Magnetic tracing of sediment dynamics of mudbanks off southwest coast of India

  • F. Badesab
  • V. Gaikwad
  • T. R. Gireeshkumar
  • O. Naikgaonkar
  • K. Deenadayalan
  • S. V. Samiksha
  • P. K. Dinesh Kumar
  • V. J. Loveson
  • S. D. Iyer
  • A. Khan
  • P. B. Udayakrishnan
  • A. Sardar
Original Article


In this study, we utilized environmental magnetic in combination with sedimentological and hydrodynamic data to investigate the formative processes of mudbanks along southwest coast of India. We document the linkages between enrichment of silt-sized magnetic particles and formation processes of mudbanks along Alappuzha coast. A trend of increasing magnetite concentration and coarsening in magnetic grain size is observed at mudbank stations M2 and M3, while the mud-deficient station (M1) showed an opposite trend. A strong relationship between magnetic and physical grain size for all samples implies that the magnetic particle size and clastic grain size are largely adjunct. Analysis of rock magnetic and grain size data of surficial and suspended sediments from non-mudbank (M1) and two mudbank stations (M2, M3) reflect the differential sediment partitioning and transport regimes which controlled the formation of mudbanks along Alappuzha coast. Two plausible mechanisms responsible for the formation of mudbanks are identified: grain size-selective entrainment is the dominant process during pre-monsoon; weaker hydrodynamics (waves and bottom currents) favors accumulation of silt-sized (fine and coarse) magnetic and non-magnetic fractions resulting in the formation of magnetically low-enriched sediment bed of mixed grain sizes. At the onset of monsoon, wave-induced energetic bottom currents enhance the suspension of entire sediment bedload at stations M2, M3 to form fluid mud. Concurrently, mineral-density-based selective fractionation allows the settling of coarse silt-sized magnetic particles, while the fine magnetic silt-size particles accumulate forming thick fluid mud as a suspension load resulting in the formation of mudbanks. An observed increase in magnetic susceptibility and coarsening in magnetic grain size of surficial sediments at mudbank stations (M2, M3) during monsoon period supports the interpretation. Our findings are summarized in a conceptual model which can be very well applied to investigate sediment dynamics associated with mudbank formation in coastal and shelf sedimentary systems.


Environmental magnetism Mudbanks Sediment dynamics Magnetic susceptibility Grain size 



The present work forms part of the Alappuzha Mudbank Process Studies (AMPS), a joint program between CSIR–National Institute of Oceanography (CSIR–NIO), Goa, its Regional Centre (RC) at Kochi, and Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Kochi. We thank Director, CSIR-NIO, Goa for providing facilities to carry out this work. Our special thanks to Dr. S.W.A. Naqvi, former Director, CSIR-NIO for his support and keen interest in this study. We also thank Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan, Director, CMFRI, for his active involvement in this program and providing FV Silver Pompano for data collection. The authors thank Dr. N. Ramaiah, Chairman, Mentor Group for CSIR–NIO RC–Kochi, for his contribution to AMPS. We acknowledge the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), MoES, for providing wave data at Kollam. We are also thankful to Sudheesh, Lakshmikant and Ravish for their help during field work. The CSIR-NIO contribution number is 6284.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Badesab
    • 1
  • V. Gaikwad
    • 1
  • T. R. Gireeshkumar
    • 2
  • O. Naikgaonkar
    • 1
  • K. Deenadayalan
    • 3
  • S. V. Samiksha
    • 1
  • P. K. Dinesh Kumar
    • 2
  • V. J. Loveson
    • 1
  • S. D. Iyer
    • 1
  • A. Khan
    • 1
  • P. B. Udayakrishnan
    • 1
  • A. Sardar
    • 1
  1. 1.CSIR, National Institute of OceanographyDona PaulaIndia
  2. 2.CSIR, National Institute of Oceanography, Regional CentreKochiIndia
  3. 3.Indian Institute of GeomagnetismNavi MumbaiIndia

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