Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

    • Post-glacial landform evolution in the middle Satluj River valley, India: Implications towards understanding the climate tectonic interactions

      Shubhra Sharma S K Bartarya B S Marh

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      Late Quaternary landform evolution in monsoon-dominated middle Satluj valley is reconstructed using the fragmentary records of fluvial terraces, alluvial fans, debris flows, paleo-flood deposits, and epigenetic gorges. Based on detailed field mapping, alluvial stratigraphy, sedimentology and optical chronology, two phases of fluvial aggradations are identified. The older aggradation event dated between ∼13 and 11 ka (early-Holocene), occurred in the pre-existing topography carved by multiple events of erosion and incision. Climatically, the event corresponds to the post-glacial strengthened Indian summer monsoon (ISM). The younger aggradation event dated between ∼5 and 0.4 ka (mid- to late-Holocene), was duringthe declining phase of ISM. The terrain witnessed high magnitude floods during transitional climate (∼6.5–7 ka). The fluvial sedimentation was punctuated by short-lived debris flows and alluvial fans during the LGM (weak ISM), early to mid-Holocene transition climate and mid- to late-Holocene decliningISM. Based on the terrace morphology, an event of relatively enhanced surface uplift is inferred after late Holocene. The present study suggests that post-glacial landforms in the middle Satluj valley owe their genesis to the interplay between the climate variability and local/regional tectonic interactions.

    • Geomorphic investigation of the Late-Quaternary landforms in the southern Zanskar Valley, NW Himalaya

      Shubhra Sharma Aadil Hussain Amit K Mishra Aasif Lone Tarun Solanki Mohammad Khatib Khan

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      The Suru, Doda and Zanskar river valleys in the semi-arid region of Southern Zanskar Ranges (SZR) preserve a rich repository of the glacial and fluvial landforms, alluvial fans, and lacustrine deposits. Based on detailed field observations, geomorphic mapping and limited optical ages, we suggest four glaciations of decreasing magnitude in the SZR. The oldest Southern Zanskar Glaciation Stage (SZS-4) is inferred from glacially polished bedrock and tillite pinnacles. The SZS-4 is ascribed to the Marine Isotopic Stage (MIS)-4/3. The subsequent SZS-3 is represented by obliterated and dissected moraines, and is assigned to MIS-2/Last Glacial Maximum. The multiple recessional moraines of SZS-2 glaciation are assigned the early to mid Holocene age whereas, the youngest SZS-1 moraines were deposited during the Little Ice Age. We suggest that during the SZS-2 glaciation, the Drang-Drung glacier shifted its course from Suru Valley (west) to the Doda Valley (east). The study area has preserved three generations of outwash gravel terraces, which broadly correlate with the phases of deglaciation associated with SZS-3, 2, and 1. The alluvial fan aggradation, lacustrine sedimentation, and loess deposition occurred during the mid-to-lateHolocene. We suggest that glaciation was driven by a combination of the mid-latitude westerlies and the Indian Summer Monsoon during periods of cooler temperature, while phases of deglaciation occurred during enhanced temperature.

    • Correction to: Geomorphic investigation of the Late- Quaternary landforms in the southern Zanskar Valley, NW Himalaya

      Shubhra Sharma Aadil Hussain Amit K Mishra Aasif Lone Tarun Solanki Mohammad Khatib Khan

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    • A preliminary assessment of the 7th February 2021 flashflood in lower Dhauli Ganga valley, Central Himalaya, India


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      A short-lived flashflood in Rishi and Dhauli Ganga rivers on 7th February 2021, Uttarakhand Himalaya, killed 65 people with 141 reported missing (official estimate) and devastated two hydropower projects. Geomorphological observations supported by meteorological data suggest that the flood was triggered by a combination of avalanche and debris flow. The Dhauli Ganga valley has preserved ponded sedimentary sequences (laminated sand and silty-clay), suggesting that the valley is prone to episodic mega foods in the recent geological past. Considering that the receding glaciers in the higher Himalaya have left behind enormous sediment, unusual weather events are likely to generate such disasters more frequently as the climate becomes warmer. Thus, the study calls for not only incorporating the disaster risk assessment in the developmental planning of the Himalayan region but also recommends routine monitoring of the potential areas of structural failures in the glaciated valleys along with supra-glacial lakes.

    • Pattern of dune accretion and its climatic implication in the southern Thar Desert margin, western India


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      The present study summarizes the existing chronometric data of fossil dunes preserved in the southern Thar Desert margin (STM). The objective is to understand the episodes of dune accretion and causes of their spatial and temporal variability along the precipitation gradient. Based on the published ages, the study identifies three major phases of dune accretion. The oldest phase-I is dated between ${\sim}$ 25 and 17 ka (MIS-2); the second short-lived phase-II between ${\sim}$ 15 and 12 ka, whereas the phase-III occurred between 10 and 5 ka. The second phase terminates with the deposition of fluvially reworked aeolian sand which has the presence of microlithic artifacts and corresponds to the early Holocene strengthened Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM). The study suggests that during phase-I and II, the terrain witnessed a significant reduction in the ISM for which a more southerly position of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is implicated. During phase-III, an oscillating ISM with overall declining trend is attributed to mid-late Holocene minor fluctuations in the ITCZ (probably proximal to modern summer position). A conspicuous absence of dune building in the northern Thar Desert during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) is ascribed to the prevalence of hyper-arid conditions in comparison to the relatively moist conditions in the STM due to its proximity to the Arabian Sea. After ${\sim}$ 15 ka, both the STM and the Thar Desert show a broad synchroneity and that coincides with the gradual strengthening of the ISM.

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