Sediment pathways and emergence of Himalayan source material in the Bay of Bengal

K. S. Krishna, M. Ismaiel, K. Srinivas, D. Gopala Rao, J. Mishra, D. Saha

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52 Scopus citations


The sediment succession in the Bay of Bengal (BoB) records the signatures corresponding to India-Asia collision, regional climate change, and erosional processes of both the Himalayan orogen and Indian subcontinent. The Bengal Fan - the world's largest submarine fan - has long been studied to understand the link between the Himalayan tectonics and Asian monsoon. But, lack of detailed information on corresponding signals hampered the understanding of related processes of tectonics, climate and erosion. The present study of long-streamer seismic reflection profile data and information from deep drill well logs in the western BoB has revealed two different phases of sediment deposition. In the first phase, until Oligocene- Miocene (~23 Ma), Indian peninsular rivers discharged sediments to the BoB which accumulated at a rate ~20 m/m.y. with an aberration of two fairly enhanced sediment pulses during the periods from 65 to 54 Ma and 34 to 23 Ma. In the second phase, since 23 Ma, the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers added huge volumes of sediments to the bay at variable rates ranging from 40 to > 1000 m/m.y. A distinct increase in sediment discharge (~140 m/m.y.) during the Oligocene- Miocene (~23 Ma) together with the development of regional onlap unconformity and the start of turbidity system provide an important age marker corresponding to rapid exhumation of the Himalaya, which intensified the erosional process and commencement of Bengal Fan sedimentation. Further rise in the rate of sedimentation during the period 6.8- 0.8 Ma is coincident with the change in monsoon intensity, but surprisingly not in agreement with the decrease in sediment rate reported at ODP Leg 116 sites in the distal Bengal Fan. Here we provide wellconstrained ages for the commencement and growth of the Bengal Fan, which can serve as benchmark information for understanding the interaction between the Himalayan exhumation and Asian climate.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)363-372
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016


  • Asian climate
  • Bengal Fan
  • Continental collision
  • Ganges and Brahmaputra Delta
  • Himalayan tectonics


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