• S Krishnaswami

      Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

    • Major ion chemistry of the Ganga source waters: Weathering in the high altitude Himalaya

      M M Sarin S Krishnaswami J R Trivedi K K Sharma

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      A systematic study of the major ion chemistry of the Ganga source waters—the Bhagirathi, Alaknanda and their tributaries—has been carried out to assess the chemical weathering processes in the high altitude Himalaya. Among major ions, Ca, Mg, HCO3 and SO4 are the most abundant in these river waters. These results suggest that weathering of carbonate rocks by carbonic and sulphuric acids dominates in these drainage basins. On an average, silicate weathering can contribute up to ∼ 30% of the total cations.

      The concentration of total dissolved salts in the Bhagirathi and the Alaknanda is 104 and 115mg/l, respectively. The chemical denudation rate in the drainage basins of the Bhagirathi and the Alaknanda is, respectively, 110 and 137 tons/km2/yr, significantly higher than that derived for the entire Ganga basin, indicating intense chemical erosion of the Himalaya.

    • Air-sea exchange of CO2 in the Gulf of Kutch, northern Arabian Sea based on bomb-carbon in corals and tree rings

      S Chakraborty R Ramesh S Krishnaswami

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      Radiocarbon analyses were carried out in the annual bands of a 40 year old coral collected from the Gulf of Kutch (22.6°N, 70°E) in the northern Arabian Sea and in the annual rings of a teak tree from Thane (19°14′N, 73°24′E) near Bombay. These measurements were made in order to obtain the rates of air-sea exchange of CO2 and the advective mixing of water in the Gulf of Kutch. The Δ14C peak in the Thane tree occurs in the year 1964, with a value of ∼630‰, significantly lower than that of the mean atmospheric Δ14C of the northern hemisphere (∼ 1000‰). The radiocarbon time series of the coral was modelled considering the supply of carbon and radiocarbon to the gulf through air-sea exchange and advective water transport from the open Arabian Sea. A reasonable fit for the coral data was obtained with an air-sea CO2 exchange rate of 11–12 mol m−2 yr−1, and an advective velocity of 28 m yr−1 between the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Kutch; this was based on a model generated time series for radiocarbon in the Arabian Sea. The deduced velocity (∼ 28 m yr−1) of the advective transport of water between the gulf and the Arabian Sea is much lower than the surface tidal current velocity in this region, but can be understood in terms of net fluxes of carbon and radiocarbon to the gulf to match the observed coral Δ14C time series.

    • Foreword

      J N Goswami S Krishnaswami

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    • Silicate and carbonate weathering in the drainage basins of the Ganga-Ghaghara-Indus head waters: Contributions to major ion and Sr isotope geochemistry

      S Krishnaswami Sunil K Singh

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      The role of silicate and carbonate weathering in contributing to the major cation and Sr isotope geochemistry of the headwaters of the Ganga-Ghaghara-Indus system is investigated from the available data. The contributions from silicate weathering are determined from the composition of granites/ gneisses, soil profiles developed from them and from the chemistry of rivers flowing predominantly through silicate terrains. The chemistry of Precambrian carbonate outcrops of the Lesser Himalaya provided the data base to assess the supply from carbonate weathering. Mass balance calculations indicate that on an average ∼ 77% (Na + K) and ∼ 17% (Ca + Mg) in these rivers is of silicate origin. The silicate Sr component in these waters average ∼40% and in most cases it exceeds the carbonate Sr. The observations that (i) the87Sr/86Sr and Sr/Ca in the granites/gneisses bracket the values measured in the head waters; (ii) there is a strong positive correlation between87Sr/86Sr of the rivers and the silicate derived cations in them, suggest that silicate weathering is a major source for the highly radiogenic Sr isotope composition of these source waters. The generally low87Sr/86Sr (< 0.720) and Sr/Ca (∼ 0.2 nM/ μM) in the Precambrian carbonate outcrops rules them out as a major source of Sr and87Sr/86Sr in the headwaters on a basin-wide scale, however, the high87Sr/86Sr (∼ 0.85) in a few of these carbonates suggests that they can be important for particular streams. The analysis of87Sr/86Sr and Ca/Sr data of the source waters show that they diverge from a low87Sr/86Sr and low Ca/Sr end member. The high Ca/Sr of the Precambrian carbonates precludes them from being this end member, other possible candidates being Tethyan carbonates and Sr rich evaporite phases such as gypsum and celestite. The results of this study should find application in estimating the present-day silicate and carbonate weathering rates in the Himalaya and associated CO2 consumption rates and their global significance.

    • 187Re-187Os in Lesser Himalayan sediments: Measurement techniques and preliminary results

      J R Trivedi Sunil K Singh S Krishnaswami

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      The applications of the187Re-187Os isotope pair as a petrogenetic and geologic tracer are increasing in recent years due to several advances in the chemical extraction and purification of Re and Os, occurring at ppb levels in environmental samples, and in the precise determination of the Os isotope composition. We have established in our laboratory; based on available methods, chemical procedures and Negative Thermal Ionisation Mass Spectrometric techniques for the measurement of Re-Os concentrations in environmental samples and the Os isotope composition in them. Using these techniques, we are able to determine187Os/186Os ratios with a precision of ∼ 1% (±2σμ; twice the standard error of the mean) in several tens of picogram of Os. Preliminary analysis of black shales from the Lower Tal section of the Maldeota phosphorite mine yields a mean187Re-187Os model age of 597 ± 30 Ma. The187Os/186Os and Os concentration in black shales of the Lesser Himalaya range from 8 to 96 and 0.02 to 13 ng g-1 respectively. The mean187Os/186Os in these samples is ∼ 25, significantly higher than the crustal value of ∼ 10.5, suggesting that these black shales could be an important source of radiogenic Os to the rivers draining the Himalaya and to the steady increase in187Os/186Os of the oceans through the Cenozoic.

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