Environmental Earth Sciences

, 76:174 | Cite as

Distribution and fractionation of rare earth elements and Yttrium in suspended and bottom sediments of the Kali estuary, western India

  • S. Suja
  • Lina L. FernandesEmail author
  • V. Purnachandra Rao
Original Article


Concentrations of rare earth elements (REE) and yttrium (Y), and major metals (Al, Fe and Mn) were measured in suspended particulate matter (SPM) and bottom sediments of the Kali estuary, western India, for their distribution and fractionation. The contents of SPM and metals in it were more uniform along the longitudinal transect during the monsoon. During the post- and pre-monsoons, low SPM in the upper/middle estuary coincided with high Fe and Mn and total REE (∑REE). But in the lower estuary SPM and its ∑REE content increased seaward, while Fe and Mn decreased. The Y/Ho ratios decreased seaward during the monsoon but increased during the post-monsoon. Sm/Nd ratios were more uniform along the transect during monsoon but decreased marginally seaward in other seasons. The Post-Archean Average Australian Shale (PAAS)-normalized REE patterns exhibited middle REE and heavy REE enrichment with positive Ce (\({\text{Ce}}/{\text{Ce}}^{*}\)), Eu (\({\text{Eu}}/{\text{Eu}}^{*}\)) and Y anomalies. The \({\text{Ce}}/{\text{Ce}}^{*}\) increased but \({\text{Eu}}/{\text{Eu}}^{*}\) decreased marginally seaward. The fine-grained sediments showed higher ∑REE and lower Y/Ho ratios than in coarse-grained sediments. The PAAS-normalized REE patterns of sediment were similar to that of SPM. The results revealed two processes, colloidal flocculation and coagulation of metals in the low-salinity zone and an estuarine turbidity maximum in the high salinity zone. Rare earths and yttrium (REY) in SPM and sediments primarily reflected the source rock composition than that of chemical weathering. Apart from physico-chemical processes, the mineralogy and grain size of sediments controlled the distribution and fractionation of REY in the estuary.


Rare earth elements Estuarine processes Chemical weathering Kali estuary India 



We thank the Director, National Institute of Oceanography, Goa for facilities. Research fellowship for S. Suja was supported by the Institutional Projects (PSC0105 and PSC0106). Drs. Pratima Kessarkar and Arti Tomar participated in the field trip to Kali estuary and guided Suja at various stages in the laboratory work. Drs. Parthiban and Siby Kurian are thanked for the metal and REEs analyses. This work was funded by CSIR-Ocean Finder Program (PSC0105). This article has NIO contribution no 5995.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Suja
    • 1
  • Lina L. Fernandes
    • 1
    Email author
  • V. Purnachandra Rao
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.CSIR-National Institute of OceanographyDona PaulaIndia
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringVignan’s UniversityVadlamudiIndia

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