Skip to main content

Stratigraphical and Palynological Appraisal of the Late Quaternary Mangrove Deposits of the West Coast of India

  • K.P.N. Kumaran (a1), K.M. Nair (a2), Mahesh Shindikar (a1), Ruta B. Limaye (a1) and D. Padmalal (a3)...

The organic deposits derived from the mangrove swamps form reliable stratigraphic markers within the Late Quaternary sequence of Kerala–Konkan Basin. Three generations of such deposits have been identified. The older one is dated to around 43,000–40,000 14C yr B.P., with a few dates beyond the range of radiocarbon. The younger ones date from the Middle Holocene to latest Pleistocene (10,760–4540 14C yr B.P.) and the Late Holocene (<4000 14C yr B.P.). Pollen analyses confirm that the deposits are mostly derived from the mangrove vegetation. Peat accumulation during the period 40,000–28,000 14C yr B.P. can be correlated with the excess rainfall, 40–100% greater than modern values, of the Asian summer monsoon. The low occurrence of mangrove between 22,000 and 18,000 14C yr B.P. can be attributed to the prevailing aridity and/or reduced precipitation associated worldwide with Last Glacial Maximum, because exposure surfaces and ferruginous layers are commonly found in intervals representing this period. The high rainfall of 11,000–4000 14C yr B.P. is found to be the most significant as the mangrove reached an optimum growth around 11,000 14C yr B.P. but with periods of punctuated weaker monsoons. From the present and previous studies, it has been observed that after about 5000 or 4000 14C yr B.P., the monsoons became gradually reduced leading to drying up of many of the marginal marine mangrove ecosystems. A case study of Hadi profile provided an insight to the relevance of magnetic susceptibility (χ) to record the ecological shift in Late Holocene.

Hide All
Agrawal, D.P., Gupta, S.K., and Kusumgar, S. (1970). Radiocarbon dates of Quaternary Samples. Current Science 30, 219222.
Basavaiah, N., and Khadkikar, A.S. (2004). Environmental magnetism and its application towards paleomonsoon reconstruction. The Journal of the Indian Geophysical Union 8, 114.
Blasco, F. (1975). The mangroves of India, Travaux de la Section Scientifique et Technique. French Institute of Pondicherry 14, 1125.
Blasco, F. (1984). In: Mangroves ecosystem research methods. p.1835. (eds. S.C., Snedaker and J.G., Snedaker), UNESCO, Paris.,3649.
Caratini, C., Delibrias, G., and Rajagopalan, G. (1990). Palaeomangroves of Kanra coast, Karnataka, India and their implications on Late Pleistocene sea-level changes. Palaeobotanist 38, 370378.
Caratini, C., Bentaleb, L., Fontigue, M., Morzadee Kerfourn, M.T., Pascal, J.P., and Tissot, C. (1994). A less humid climate since 3500 yr BP, from marine cores off Karwar, Western India. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 109, 371384.
Deshpande, G.G. (1998). Geology of Maharashtra. Geological Society of India, Bangalore.223
Erdtman, G. (1966). Pollen morphology and plant taxonomy. Angiosperms Hafner Publishing Company, New York.Corrected reprint
Faegri, K., and Iversen, J. (1975). Text Book of Pollen Analysis. Munksgaard, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Furukawa, K., and Wolanski, E. (1996). Sedimentation in mangrove forests. Mangroves and Salt Marshes 1, 310.
Geetha, R., Sukumar, R., Ramesh, R., Pant, R.K., and Rajgopalan, G. (1997). Late Quternary vegetal and climatic changes from tropical peats in southern India, an extended record up to 40,000 yr B.P.. Current Science 73, 6063.
Guinet, Ph. (1962). Pollen d' Asie tropicale. Travaux de la Section Scientifique et Technique. Institut Francais de Pondichery 5, 18.(52 pl)
Gupta, A.K., Anderson, D.M., and Overpeck, J.T. (2003). Abrupt changes in the Asian southwest monsoon during the Holocene and their links to the North Atlantic Ocean. Nature 421, 354357.
Jayalakshmi, K., Nair, K.M., Kumai, H., and Santosh, M. (2004). Late Pleistocene–Holocene palaeoclimatic history of the southern Kerala Basin, Southwest India. Gondwana Research 7, 585594.
Kale, V.S., and Rajaguru, S.N. (1983). Mid-Holocene fossil woods from Colva, Goa. Current Science 52, 778779.
Kale, V.S., Gupta, A., and Singhvi, A.K. (2003). Late Pleistocene Holocene palaeohydrology and monsoon Asia.Gregory, K.J., Benito, G. Palaeohydrology: Understanding Global Change John Wiley and Sons, New York.213232.
Krauss, K.W., Allen, J.A., and Cahoon, D.R. (2003). Differential rates of vertical accretion and elevation change among aerial root types in Micronesian mangrove fossils. Estuarine Coastal Shelf Science 56, 251259.
K.P.N., Kumaran (2001). Quaternary sea level oscillations, geological and geomorphological evolution of south Kerala sedimentary basin.Report on the palynological analysis of subsurface samples.DST project interim report 122 p.
Kumaran, K.P.N., and Nair, K.M. (2005). Tracing Palaeoclimatic signatures in fossil woods and sub-fossil logs of Kerala, Southwestern India. Pages News 13, 1517.
Kumaran, K.P.N., Limaye, R.B., Rajshekhar, C., and Rajgopalan, G. (2001). Palynoflora and radiocarbon dates of Holocene deposits of Dhamapur, Sindhudurg District, Maharashtra. Current Science 80, 13311336.
Kumaran, K.P.N., Shindikar, M.R., and Mudgal, T.R. (2004a). )Floristic composition, palynology and sedimentary facies of Hadi mangrove swamp (Maharashtra). Journal of Indian Geophysical Union 8, 5563.
Kumaran, K.P.N., Shindikar, M., and Limaye, R.B. (2004b). )Mangrove deposits as archives of palaeomonsoon records: the palynological assessment of the Late Quaternary deposits of West Coast of India. Polen 14, 246247.
R.B., Limaye (2004). Contribution to Palaeopalynology and palaeoecology of the coastal deposits of Maharashtra, India.Ph.D. Dissertation,University of Pune, Pune.
Mascarenhas, A. (1997). Significance of peat on western continental shelf of India. Journal of Geological Society of India 49, 145152.
Mascarenhas, A., Paropkari, A.L., Prakash Babu, (1993). On the possibility of allochthonons peat on the inner shelf off Karwar. Current Science 64, 684687.
Moore, P.D., and Webb, J.A. (1978). An illustrated guide to Pollen analysis. Hodder and Stoughton, London.
Muller, J. (1981). Fossil pollen records of extant angiosperms. Botanical Review 47, 1142.
K.M., Nair, and Padmalal, D. (2003). Quaternary Sea level Oscillations, Geological and Geomorphological Evolution of South Kerala Sedimentary Basin.PCR ESS/23/VES/6/98; Report submitted to DST, GOI.,160. p.
K.M., Nair, Padmalal, D., K.P.N., Kumaran in press. Quaternary geology of south Kerala sedimentary basin–An outline.Journal of Geological Society of India.
Nayak, S., and Bahuguna, A. (2001). Application of remote sensing data to monitor mangroves and other coastal vegetation of India. Indian Journal of Marine Sciences 30, 195213.
Nayar, T.S. (1990). Pollen flora of Maharashtra State, India. Today and Tomorrow's Printers and Publishers, New Delhi.15767 pl
Nigam, R. (1993). Foraminifera and change pattern of monsoon rainfall. Current Science 64, 935937.
Nigam, R., and Khare, N. (1999). Spatial and unequal distribution of foraminifers in sediments off the central west coast of India and use of their test morphologies for the reconstructions of palaeomonsoon precipitation. Micropalaeontology 45, 285300.
Pandarinath, K., Shankar, R., and Yadava, M.G. (2001). Late Quaternary changes in sea level and sedimentation rate along the seacoast of India: evidence from radiocarbon dates. Current Science 81, 594600.
S.D., Pawar, Venkatramana, B., Mathai, T., and Mallikarjuna, C. (1983). Systematic geological mapping around Chertallai–Vaikom–Aleppey–Kottayam and Panthalam in parts of Aleppey and Kottayam districts/Kerala state.Unpublished report,Geological Survey of India, .
Phadtare, N.R. (2000). Sharp decrease in summer monsoon strength 4000–3500 cal yr B.P. in the central Himalaya of India based on pollen evidences from offshore peat. Quaternary Research 53, 122129.
Quadros, G., and Athalye, R.P. (2002). Intertidal macrobenthos from Ulhas river estuary and Thane creek. Proceedings National Seminar on Creeks, Estuaries and Mangroves–Pollution and Conservation 216222.
Rajendran, C.P., and Rajagopalan, G. (1989). Quaternary Geology of India : evidence from radiocarbon dates. Journal of Geological Society of India 33, 218222.
Rajshekhar, C., and Kumaran, K.P.N. (1998). Micropalaeontological evidence for tectonic uplift of near-shore deposits around Bankot-Velas, Ratnagiri district, Maharashtra. Current Science 74, 705708.
K.K., Ramchandran, Balsubramanian, G., Kurian, J., and Thomas, J. (1985). The mangrove ecosystem of Kerala, its mapping, inventory and some environmental aspects.Interim report–Centre for Earth Science studies,Trivandrum., pp. 152.
Sarkar, A., Ramesh, R., Somayajulu, B.G.K., Agnihotri, R., Jull, A.J.T., and Burr, G.S. (2000). High resolution Holocene monsoon record from the eastern Arabian Sea. Earth Planet Science Letters 177, 209218.
Selvam, V. (2003). Environmental classification of mangrove wetlands of India. Current Science 84, 757765.
K.P., Shajan (1998). Studies on the Late Quaternary sediments and sea level changes of central Kerala coast, India.PhD thesis,Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kochi.
Shi, Y., Yu, G., Liu, X., Li, B., and Yao, T. (2001). Reconstruction of 30–40 Ka BP enhanced Indian climate based on geological records from the Tibet plateau. Plaeoclimatology, Palaeogeography, Palaeoecology 169, 6983.
Shindikar, M., Limaye, R.B., Kumaran, K.P.N., and Gunale, V.R. (2004). Past and present mangrove flora along Konkan, West Coast, India. National seminar on ‘New Frontiers in Plant Taxonomy and Biodiversity Conservation’ Thiruvanathpuram, India 46Abstract
Sirocko, F., Sarnthein, M., Erienkeuser, H., Arnold, M., and Duplessy, J.C. (1993). Century-scale events in monsoonal climate over the past 24,000 years. Nature 364, 322324.
Soman, K. (2002). Geology of Kerala. Geological Society of India, Bangalore.375
Stuiver, M., and Pearson, G.W. (1993). High precision bidecadal calibration of the radiocarbon time scale, AD 1950–500 BC and 2500–6000 BC.Stuiver, M., Long, A., Kra, R.S. Calibration 1993 Radiocarbon vol. 35, 123.
Thanikaimoni, G. (1987). Mangrove Palynology. Travaux de la Section Scientifique et Technique. French Institute of Pondicherry 24, (100 pp.)
Thanikaimoni, G., Caratini, C., Venkatachala, B.S., Ramanujam, C.G.K., and Kar, R.K. (1984). Selected Tertiary angiosperm pollens from India and their relationship with African Tertiary pollen, Travaux de la Section Scientifique et Technique. French Institute of Pondicherry 19, (93 pp., 72. pl)
Thom, B.G. (1984). Coastal landforms and geomorphic processes.Snedaker, S.C., Snedaker, J.G. The Mangrove Ecosystem: Research Methods Unesco, 317.
Thompson, R., and Oldfield, F. (1986). Environmental Magnetism. Allen and Unwin, London.227 pp.
Tissot, C. (1990). Late Holocene environment in Coondapur area, Karnataka, Preliminary palynological results.Jain, K.P., Tiwari, R.S. Proceedings of Symposium Vistas in Indian Palaeobotany Palaeobotanist vol. 38, 348358.
Tissot, C., Chikhi, H., and Nayar, T.S. (1994). Pollen of wet evergreen forests of the Western Ghats, India. Instuitut Francais de Pondichery 35, 133 pp.
Tomlinson, P.B. (1986). The Botany of Mangroves. Cambridge Univ. Press, U.K..
Traverse, A. (1988). Palaeo-Palynology. Unwin Hyman Publishers, London.
Untawale, A.G. (1987). Country Report–India.Umali, R.M. Mangrove Ecosystem of Asia and The Pacific: Status and Management UNESCO regional office, New Delhi 5187.
E., Van Campo (1983). Palaeoclimatologie des bordures de la mer d' Arabie depuis 150,000 ana.Analysepollinique et stratigraphie isotopique. Thesis,Monpellier.
Van Campo, E. (1986). Monsoon fluctuations in two 20,000 yr B.P. Oxygen-isotope/pollen records off southwest India. Quaternary Research 26, 376388.
Verosub, K.L., and Roberts, A.P. (1995). Environmental magnetism: past, present and future. Journal of Geophysical Research 100, 21752192.
Vishnu-Mitre, , and Guzder, S.J. (1975). Stratigraphy and Palynology of the mangrove swamps of Bombay. Palaeobotanist 22, 111117.
Williamson, D., Jelinowska, A., Kissel, C., Tucholka, P., Gilbert, E., Gasse, F., Massault, M., Taieb, M., Van Campo, E., and Wieckowski, K. (1998). Mineral magnetic proxies of erosion/oxidation cycles in tropical marr-like sediments (Lake Tritrivakely, Madagascar): palaeoenvironmental implications. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 155, 205219.
Wolanski, E. (1995). Transport of sediment in mangrove swamps. Hydrobiologia 295, 3142.
Yadava, M.G., and Ramesh, R. (1999). Palaeomonsoon record of the last 3400 years from speleothems of tropical India. Gondwana Geological Magazine 4, 141156.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
  • URL: /core/journals/quaternary-research
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed