Coastal response to changes in sea level since the last 4500 BP on the east coast of Tamil Nadu, India

Hema Achyuthan, Victor Baker

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Abstract

Geomorphology, clay mineral composition, and radiocarbon dates from Muttukadu to Marakkanam estuaries and the tidal zone along the east coast of Tamil Nadu, India, have been used to reconstruct coastal evolution between approximately 4500 and 1100 BP. Formation of alternate oyster beds with intervening tidal clay units indicate fluctuation in the sea level may be a consequence of changes in the Mid-Holocene sedimentation pattern and coastal configuration. 14C dates from Muttukadu indicate a rapid relative sea-level rise (RSL) subsequent to 3500 BP and tidal flat sedimentation between 3475 and 3145 BP. Marine conditions along the east coast area returned around 1900 BP. Comparison of dates with other sites, e.g. Muttukadu, Mammallapuram, and Marakkanam, points toward short removal of marine conditions, ample sediment supplies in the tidal zones, and neotectonic activity. Reactivation of the north-south trending fault line occurred not earlier than approximately 1050 BP. Our study indicates that Middle to Late Holocene coastal sedimentation and the chronology of the tidal zone formation have been strongly influenced by local factors. These have provided considerable scope for internal reorganization with changing coastal processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-144
Number of pages8
JournalRadiocarbon
Volume44
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Polymers and Plastics

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