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Senthil Nathan, Bijilal B S

Sedimentological studies of beach sand of Tamil Nadu and Kerala coast

Sedimentological studies of beach sand of Tamil Nadu and Kerala coast, India Implications on provenance and depositional environments
D Senthil Nathan & B S Bijilal
Department of Earth Sciences, SPCAS, Pondicherry University, Pondicherry 605 014, India E-mail address: senthilom@rediffmail.com Abstract. The present investigation deals with sedimentological studies of beach sand of Tamil Nadu
coast and southern coastal part of Kerala. As many as 133 samples were collected from Chennai to Kanayakumari along the East coast and 41 samples collected from Kanyakumari to Alappuzha along the West coast, and those samples were subjected to textural and heavy mineral analyses. Textural characteristics of the sediments and heavy mineral assemblage provide clues to understand depositional environment and provenance. The textural analysis of the East coast samples shows that generally the sand size varies from fine to medium grained, sorting from moderately well sorted to well sorted, Skewness from nearly symmetrical to coarsely Skewed and kurtosis from platykurtic to leptokurtic. It is evident from the skewness that an erosional condition is prevailing in the beach from Chennai to Kalpakkam, Veerampattinam to Panithittu, Pudupettai to MGR Thittu, Pradabakkarai to Vattaikkaraniruppu, Tiruchendur to Kulasekarapatinam segments of the East coast. Subsequently, the moderately well sorted to very well sorted nature of the sediments reveals that these areas have been experiencing moderately high energy condition. Whereas it is also inferred that a depositional environment is prevailing in the segments between Kalpakkam and Banayul, Aalambarikuppam and Kunimedu, Palaiyar and Kallar, Vettaikkarraniruppu and near Tiruchendur, Manapadu and Koodatapanai, Kuthankuzhi and Vattakottai. Further, the moderately sorted to moderately well sorted nature of the sediments reveals that the area has been experiencing moderately low energy condition. Similarly, the West coast beach sands are generally medium to fine grained, moderately well sorted to very well sorted, fine to nearly coarsely skewed and kurtosis varies from very leptokurtic to leptokurtic. The skewness and sorting nature of the samples indicate that an erosional condition is prevailing in the beach from Karinkulam-Adimalatura area, Valiyatura, Veli- Edamkantam region, and Kappil, whereas a depositional condition exists in the segment from Colechal to Kovalam, Shangumugam area, and Varkala to Alappuzha segment excluding the location Kappil. The textural characteristic of these beach sands exhibit that the study area of the Kerala coast is experiencing moderately high energy-high energy environment. The heavy mineral analysis of the samples shows that the concentration of heavy minerals varies much in different locations of the study area. The heavy mineral assemblage in the East Coast from Chennai to Karaikal (Pumbuhar) segment includes Pyriboles, Epidote and garnet with minor Ilmenite, Rutile, Zircon, Monazite with very low sillimanite, hornblende, hypersthenes, kyanite. Whereas Rameswaram to Tiruchendur is dominated by Ilmenite, Rutile, Zircon, Monazite and Sillimanite, very minor amount of Pyriboles and Garnet. Thruchendur to Kanyakumari segment consists predominantly of Ilmenite, Rutile, Zircon, Monazite and Sillimanite with Garnet. However, Koodatapanai to Kundal stretch is enriched with Garnet, with minor amount of Ilmenite, Rutile, Zircon and Monazite. Similarly in the West Coast from Alappuzha to Varkala, the major heavy mineral assemblage includes Ilmenite, Rutile, Zircon, Monazite and Sillimanite, with very minor amount of Pyriboles and Garnet, It is observed that the beach sand of Neendakara, Sakthikulangara and Chavara is enriched with ilmenite, rutile constituting about 80% of the heavy minerals. Varkala to Manavalakrichi segment possesses Ilmenite, Rutile, Zircon, Monazite and Sillimanite with Garnet. These heavy mineral assemblages suggest that the source for beach sediments of northern part of Tamil Nadu coast, would be medium to high-grade metamorphic rocks, Granitoid and Gneisses, Charnockite and Granulites, while southern part of Tamil Nadu and Kerala coast might have received sediments from High grade Migmatites (Khondalite Group), Granites, Charnockite and Granulites. Key words: Sedimentology, Heavy Minerals, Tamil Nadu, Kerala Coast, India.

Shaji E & Pradeepkumar AP (Eds) 2014 Mineral Resources of Kerala Trivandrum: Dept of Geology Univ of Kerala ISBN 978-81-923449-0-4 181