Environmental conditions inferred from multi-element concentrations in sediments off Cauvery delta, Southeast India

Judith D. Silva, S. Srinivasalu, P. D. Roy, M. P. Jonathan

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We present multi-element concentrations in the surface sediments from the offshore of Cauvery delta of southeast India to evaluate the impact of coastal pollution on the geochemical behaviour of surface deposits. For this study, 16 surface sediment samples were collected from the offshore of Cauvery delta of southeast India and were analysed using traditional XRF for various major (SiO2, Al2O3, MgO, Fe2O3, MnO, Na2O, K2O, CaO, P2O5, TiO2) and trace elements (Rb, Sr, Ba, Y, Zr, Nb, V, Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Th, Pb) after powdering it to ASTM 230 (<63 μm). The main objectives of this study were to understand the geochemical behaviour of the coastal surface sediments and its performance and relation with the pollution indices and statistical analysis. To meet out the objective, pollution indices such as enrichment factor (EF), contamination factor (CF) and Geoaccumulation Index (I geo) were calculated and statistical analyses were performed to understand the relationship between the geochemical parameters. Both EF and I geo show the enrichment of Cu, Cr and Zr, whereas CF shows enrichment of Cu and Cr. Statistical analyses exhibit poor correlation between these elements and fine fraction indicating the insignificant role played by both grain size and organic matter. Strong positive association between Cu and Zn with CaCO3 exhibits the role of carbonates in precipitating these metals from the overlying water column possibly related to agricultural pollution. Distribution and association of other elements suggest the influence of mineralogy in geochemical composition of surface sediments. Based on this study, we suggest that environmental indices alone should not be considered for evaluating environmental conditions and a prior geogenic characterisation of the sediments is necessary. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2043-2058
Number of pages1837
JournalEnvironmental Earth Sciences
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2014


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