An environmental magnetic record of heavy metal pollution in Vembanad lagoon, southwest coast of India

A. C. Narayana, M. Ismaiel, C. P. Priju

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10 Scopus citations


Magnetic signature of the iron-bearing minerals archived in sediments is sensitive to change in environment and therefore, studied to reconstruct the signals linked with environmental processes. In the present work, we have analyzed 11 sediment cores from Vembanad lagoon, southwest coast of India, to estimate the magnetic fluctuations associated with environmental processes. Down-core variation in magnetic susceptibility and anhysteretic, isothermal and saturation isothermal remnant magnetization and S and H-ratios have been interpreted to map the degree and spatial distribution of anthropogenic pollution in and around the lagoon. Downcore variation of magnetic susceptibility of Vembanad lagoon sediments varies from 10 to 100 × 10−8 m3/ kg. The top layers of sediment samples from river mouth regions (Periyar and Muvattupuzha rivers) show higher susceptibility values and incidentally these samples are of coarse sized. The subtle variations in SIRM/χlf ratios suggest that there are magnetic grain size differences in the samples. The SIRM and χlf relation suggests that dominant magnetic grain size in sediments. The low ARM/χlf ratios suggest a relatively higher ferrimagnetic contribution and coarser magnetite grain size. Rock magnetism data reveal that the coarse magnetic grain size is affecting the pollution of Vembanad lagoon. We also analyzed downcore variability of metal concentrations such as Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, Ni and Cr, and all these metals exhibit higher concentrations in the top layers of the cores. Our study suggests that higher values of magnetic parameters and metal concentrations are due to various anthropogenic sources.

Original languageBritish English
Article number112344
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Coastal sediments
  • Environmental magnetism
  • Heavy metals
  • Southwest coast of India
  • Vembanad lagoon


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