Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 71, Issue 5, pp 2043–2058 | Cite as

Environmental conditions inferred from multi-element concentrations in sediments off Cauvery delta, Southeast India

  • Judith D. Silva
  • S. SrinivasaluEmail author
  • P. D. Roy
  • M. P. Jonathan
Original Article


We present multi-element concentrations in the surface sediments from the offshore of Cauvery delta of southeast India to evaluate the impact of coastal pollution on the geochemical behaviour of surface deposits. For this study, 16 surface sediment samples were collected from the offshore of Cauvery delta of southeast India and were analysed using traditional XRF for various major (SiO2, Al2O3, MgO, Fe2O3, MnO, Na2O, K2O, CaO, P2O5, TiO2) and trace elements (Rb, Sr, Ba, Y, Zr, Nb, V, Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Th, Pb) after powdering it to ASTM 230 (<63 μm). The main objectives of this study were to understand the geochemical behaviour of the coastal surface sediments and its performance and relation with the pollution indices and statistical analysis. To meet out the objective, pollution indices such as enrichment factor (EF), contamination factor (CF) and Geoaccumulation Index (I geo) were calculated and statistical analyses were performed to understand the relationship between the geochemical parameters. Both EF and I geo show the enrichment of Cu, Cr and Zr, whereas CF shows enrichment of Cu and Cr. Statistical analyses exhibit poor correlation between these elements and fine fraction indicating the insignificant role played by both grain size and organic matter. Strong positive association between Cu and Zn with CaCO3 exhibits the role of carbonates in precipitating these metals from the overlying water column possibly related to agricultural pollution. Distribution and association of other elements suggest the influence of mineralogy in geochemical composition of surface sediments. Based on this study, we suggest that environmental indices alone should not be considered for evaluating environmental conditions and a prior geogenic characterisation of the sediments is necessary.


Marine sediments Coastal environment Sediment quality enrichment factor Contamination factor Geoaccumulation Index Geochemistry Offshore Cauvery delta Southeast India 



SS thanks the support by UGC (MRP—F. No.: 39-137/2010 (SR)). The sampling was carried out by the research vessel “CRV Sagar Purvi” of National Institute of Ocean Technology. We acknowledge the help and support from Dr. M. Jeevanandam, Dr. P. Saravanan, Ms. G. Nandhini Devi, Mr. K. Anandasabari, Ms. V.P. Sathiyabama and Mr. Hariharan for completing this work.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith D. Silva
    • 1
  • S. Srinivasalu
    • 1
    Email author
  • P. D. Roy
    • 2
  • M. P. Jonathan
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of GeologyAnna UniversityChennaiIndia
  2. 2.Instituto de GeologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma, de México (UNAM)Mexico CityMexico
  3. 3.Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigaciones y Estudios sobre Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo (CIIEMAD)Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN)Mexico CityMexico

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