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Tsunami impact on groundwater in Kerala, India

Tsunami impact on groundwater in Kerala, India

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Published by geologist
Quality of coastal groundwater after the tsunami in southern Kerala, India, in 2004
Quality of coastal groundwater after the tsunami in southern Kerala, India, in 2004

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: geologist on Jul 25, 2008
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11/11/2012

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GROUND WATER QUALITY: A STUDY OF THE TSUNAMI-AFFECTED ARATTUPUZHA COAST, KERALA
V. Sivanandan Achari, C.A.Jaison and P.M.Alex
School of Environmental Studies, Cochin University of Science and TechnologyKochi
 P.Seralathan
Department of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Lakeside Campus, Kochi
 A.P.Pradeepkumar 
Department of Geology, University College, Thiruvananthapuram
 E.Shaji
Central Ground Water Board, Thiruvananthapuram
 Arattupuzha coast in Kerala, India 9
o
08’N and 76 
o
28’E is one of the most severely affected coasts of bythe December 26, 2004 tsunami waves. It is a narrow strip of a barrier island of 20 km long and 50 m – 200 m wide with an elevation ranging from 0 to 1.5 m, and separates the Vembanad estuary from the sea. Being very close to sea and frequently subjected to coastal erosion, water quality has been a concern inthis coastal strip, and especially after the recent tsunami this strip seems to be more vulnerable. In the study, an exercise is undertaken to measure the impact of tsunami waves on the quality of water in thisnarrow land. Water quality is assessed by working out water quality indices (WQI) based on select  parameters, pH, temperature, turbidity, DO, BOD, TDS, phosphate, nitrate and faecal coliform, for a period of 8 months up to October2005 just after tsunami (December 26, 2004) from 11 sampling stations.
Introduction
Kollam –Alappuzha coastal belt of Kerala is one of the most thickly populated regions inthe country. In Kollam District alone the tsunami onslaught took 142 lives. The coastalstretch has very rich mineral deposits particularly ilmenite, rutile and monozite in thecountry (Achari 2006). Chavara beach sand deposits consist of thorium and are a part of the same coastal stretch regarded as the economic zone of the state of Kerala. A preliminary report prepared by the district authorities shows that 1254 persons wereinjured by the seismic waves, 1559 houses completely washed away and 926 houses partially damaged. But the morphological integrity of these very recent formations andthe reliability of the fresh water reserves in the tertiary formations taunt the very philosophy of overpopulating these fragile specs of land. The geographical setting of the
 
2sand bars is such that it consists of rich black sand heavy mineral deposited ridges. Evenwithout a tsunami, sea waves of lower denominations also can potentially perpetrategrave damage to life and property in the region.
Figure 1. The location of Arattupuzha in Alappuzha Coast, Kerala in South of India
. Over the years, the sea is steadily inching its way east so much so that the entire coastalstrip has been humbled into a thin precarious ribbon of sand and alluvium. Immediatelyafter the tsunami event many wells in this region turned colored and foul smelling. Butleaching of organic matter and plant nutrients, particularly soluble orthophosphates andnitrates results, in explosive cases of eutrophication, which is characterized by drasticdiurnal variation in DO, pH and alkalinity eventually leading to hypoxia and death of thewater body (Alex 2005; Achari, 2006).
 
3The present study, discusses a chain of physical and chemical changes in theaffected aquatic and terrestrial environment of the fragile Arattupuzha coast of Keralatriggered by the 26 th December 2004 tsunami event. The saline water mediated water quality changes and their temporal and spatial pattern were monitored all along thecoastal strips that were catapulted to the limelight because of the cataclysmic tsunamievent.
Figure 2. A pool formed by the tsunami waters across the road at Valiazheeckal,Arattupuzha coast (Station 1, Table 1). By March 2005 eutrophication became conspicuous.
 
The main objective of the study is to establish the temporal water quality variation profileafter a major seawater intrusion event within the local geo-physical constraints.
Methodology
The water sources chosen for the present study have highest utility as a potentialfresh water source, a definite water regime, a representative nature and some degree of 

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