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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)...
Abstract

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.

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