Recent insights into the dissolved and particulate fluxes from the Himalayan tributaries to the Ganga River

  • Md Maroof Azam
  • Monika Kumari
  • Chinmaya Maharana
  • Abhay K. Singh
  • Jayant K. TripathiEmail author
Original Article


The Ganga River plays a major role in the transfer of materials from the Indian sub-continent to the Bay of Bengal, both in dissolved and particulate forms. To understand the present elemental dynamics of the Ganga River system, it is important to assess the hydrogeochemical contribution of its tributaries. In this paper, we present an updated database on dissolved and particulate fluxes and denudation rates of the Himalayan tributaries of the Ganga River (Ramganga, Ghaghara, Gandak and Kosi). Dissolved trace element concentrations, their fluxes and suspended sediment-associated elemental fluxes of the Himalayan tributaries have been reported for the first time. Total dissolved flux of the Ramganga, Ghaghara, Gandak and Kosi was estimated as 4, 19.1, 10.3 and 8.8 million tons year−1 accounting for ~ 5.7, ~ 27.3, ~ 14.7 and ~ 12.6%, respectively, of the total annual dissolved load carried by the Ganga River. The total particulate flux of the Ramganga, Ghaghara, Gandak and Kosi was computed as 8.2, 81.6, 30.9 and 19.5 million tons year−1, respectively. Compared to earlier studies, we have found a significant increase in the total dissolved flux and chemical denudation rate of the studied tributaries. The estimated particulate fluxes were found to be low in comparison to the previous studies. We suggest that a significant increase in the dissolved fluxes and a decrease in the particulate fluxes are an indication of the increasing anthropogenic disturbances in the catchment of these tributaries.


Ganga River system Himalayan tributaries Hydrogeochemistry Dissolved and particulate flux Denudation rate 



MMA and CM thank the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and MK thanks the University Grants Commission (UGC) for financial support in the form of a research fellowship. JKT thanks the Department of Science and Technology (DST) for financial assistance through JNU-DST-PURSE in maintaining the geochemical laboratory. The Dean, School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the Director, Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research, are acknowledged for their help. The authors thank Christopher McCarthy for improving the language of this manuscript, and anonymous reviewers for their constructive contributions.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 586 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Md Maroof Azam
    • 1
  • Monika Kumari
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chinmaya Maharana
    • 1
    • 3
  • Abhay K. Singh
    • 4
  • Jayant K. Tripathi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Environmental SciencesJawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew Delhi 110067India
  2. 2.Graduate School of Global Environmental StudiesKyoto UniversityKyoto 606-8501Japan
  3. 3.Inter-University Accelerator Center (IUAC)Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi 110067India
  4. 4.Central Institute of Mining and Fuel ResearchDhanbadIndia

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