Geochemical characterisation of major and trace elements in the coastal sediments of India

Author(s): Alagarsamy R, Zhang J


Thirty-five surface sediment samples from the Indian continental shelf were recovered offshore from the mouths of the major rivers (Brahmaputra, Ganges, Narmada, Tapti, Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery) discharging into the coastal region of both east and west coasts were analysed using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy for selected major (i.e. Al, Ca, Fe, K, Ti, Mg and Na) and trace elements (e.g. Ba, Co, Cr, Cu, Ga, Ni, P and V), after total dissolution. The main objectives are to understand the processes controlling major and trace elements in the surface sediments and to identify natural and anthropogenic sources in the coastal environment using statistically regressed elemental concentrations to establish regional baseline levels. Metal enrichments observed close to the major urban areas in the east and west coasts are associated with the industrialised activities areas rich in Cu and Co in both the east and west coast sediments. Normalisation of metals to Al indicated that high enrichment factors are in the order of Ca > Ti > or = Fe > Na > Mg > Co > Cu > Ga > V > Ba except K and P depletion. This indicated that the characteristic of estuarine sediment showed higher level along the west coast of India, which was reflected in the coastal sediments as similar to the source of its origin from the riverine composition and its abundances.

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