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ISSN 00014370, Oceanology, 2014, Vol. 54, No. 4, pp. 532540. Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2014.

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1. INTRODUCTION
The sediment path way is the major transport sys
tems in estuarine and marine environment. The anal
ysis of spatial changes in grain size parameters (mean
size, sorting and skewness) is one of the methods
which can allow the identification of sediment trans
port pathways. The identification of sediment trans
port paths using grain size parameters is of major
importance in many sedimentological studies, includ
ing those related to environmental studies, for exam
ple to determine the possible dispersal patterns of con
taminants. Many attempts have already been made to
relate the grain size trends to sediment transport paths
[5, 9, 12, 16]. In their earlier studies the focus was on
spatial tends in individual parameters such as mean
size or sorting for which universally applicable rules
could not be established. More recent studies showed
that consideration of a combination of grain size
parameters yielded better results. The theoretical base
for this assumption, from which it can be concluded
that four trend types should dominate in nature [4, 6,
10, 11, 13]. Hydrodynamic condition of sediments in
environment by employing revised triangular textural
classification scheme were proposed by Flemming [2].
1
The article is published in the original.
In this revised diagrams twenty five classes were made
to under the hydrodynamic condition. Each class is
given a unique genetic name which is associated with
specified sand/silt/clay ratios [15, 19]. This triangular
diagram is useful to characterize the hydrodynamic
regimes of the different environment. The ability of
such revised textural classification of hydrodynamic
energy conditions can be demonstrated by splitting up
individual data sets into discrete cluster and identify
ing the origin of the associated samples in the study
area. This plot exhibit the depositional pattern that
can only be explained by invoking a size sorting mech
anism associated with the local hydrodynamic energy
gradient. The objectives of the present study is to
obtain the grain size trend and hydrodynamic condi
tion of Tirumalairajan River estuarine sediments.
2. DESCRIPTION OF THE STUDY AREA
The Cauvery River originates in the Brahmagiri
range of the Western Ghats and travels 800 km before
emptying into the Bay of Bengal. Tirumalairajan River
is separated from Cauvery River in Tanjore district of
Tamil Nadu state and discharges its load into the Bay
of Bengal near Tirumalairajapattinam after traversing
a distance of about 14 km. The influence of tide was
noticed up to 810 km in the upstream direction. The
Grain Size Trend and Hydrodynamic Condition of Tirumalairajan
River Estuary, East Coast of India
1

S. Venkatramanan
a, b
, S. Y. Chung
a,
*, T. Ramkumar
b
, and N. Park
c
a
Institute of Environmental Geosciences, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Pukyong National University,
5991 Daeyeondong Namgu, Busan, 608737 Republic of Korea
b
Department of Earth Sciences, Annamalai University, Annamalai Nagar, Tamilnadu, 608002 India
c
Department of Civil Engineering, DongA University, 840 Hadandong Sahagu, Busan, 604717 Republic of Korea
*email: chungsy@pknu.ac.kr
Received May 5, 2012; in final form, March 8, 2014
AbstractThe estuary can be considered as environments characterized by high productivity and un
commensurable ecological value. However, marine ecosystems are also subjected to high human pressures
that increase their vulnerability. The aim of this work is to analyze grain size trend of sediment due to the
action of the main hydrodynamic condition. The spatial distribution patterns of sediments were monitored
according to season. The grainsize trend of surficial sediments revealed a dominant sediment transport
trend towards the eastern and south eastern part of study area. This study shows that there is an agreement
among sediments path ways, hydrodynamic condition and the sediment spatial distribution in the estuarine
environment. The agitation by waves is an important sorting mechanism in the study area. The findings are
based on the grain size trend and also corroborated by short term observations of the estuarine sediment
dynamics and transport during the monsoon, postmonsoon, summer and premonson seasons in Tiru
malairajan River estuary.
DOI: 10.1134/S0001437014040134
MARINE GEOLOGY
OCEANOLOGY Vol. 54 No. 4 2014
GRAIN SIZE TREND AND HYDRODYNAMIC CONDITION 533
catchment area comprises of a terrain of granite, char
nockite and gneiss. The river then flows through recent
alluvium deposits which are composed of clays and
silts before it joins to the sea. The mouth of the estuary
is always open to the sea. There is no complete closure
of the bar and hence regarded as a true bar built estuary
with semidiurnal nature. The estuary also receives dis
charges from a number of irrigation channels. The
sampling location of the study area is shown in Fig. 1.
The climate of the area is generally hot, semidry
and tropical. March to June is the hottest months and
December to February are the cooler months of the
year. The major portion of the annual rainfall is
received during the northeast monsoon recorded dur
ing October to December. Based on the northeast
monsoon the climatic condition of the region is
divided into monsoon (October to December), post
monsoon (January to March) summer (April to June)
and premonsoon (July to September) seasons. The
recorded average annual rainfall was 863 mm.
The change in seasonal cycles of monsoon influ
ences the wave characteristics of the Bay of Bengal.
The waves, approaching the shore in the direction N
60 E and N 45 E, with heights of 0.5 m to 3.5 m, and
periods of 8 s and 10 s are predominant. Tidal range
along the coast and estuary mostly varies from 1 to
2 m. Two currents of spring current in clockwise circu
lation and autumn current in anticlockwise circula
tion are observed in the Bay of Bengal. Besides two
currents, long shore littoral drifting currents domi
nantly occurs from south to north. In general, the
coast is wave dominated.
Wind blows mainly from the direction between the
south west and north east during the south west mon
soon season. In the post monsoon season, wind blows
mainly in the north easterly or easterly direction. Dur
ing the rest of the year, wind blows from the direction
between north and east. The mean wind speed in the
study area varies from 5.4 to 18.9 km/h.
The geology of the study area is shown in Fig. 2.
This area mainly is comprised of quaternary sediments
which increase towards the south of Coleroon River.
These sediments have been delineated as alluvial plain
deposit of the Cauvery River and its distributaries, nar
row fluviomarine deltaic plain deposits and marine
coastal plain deposits (east coast formation). The flu
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Karaikal
Akkaravattam
Tirumalairajan River
Tirmalairayapattinam
Vanjiyur
Nagore
B
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B
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N
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794956 E
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Legend
City
Sampling points
Tributaries
Highway road
Bay of Bengal 0 1 2 4 km
Fig. 1. Location Map of the Study Area.
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VENKATRAMANAN et al.
vial deposits comprise flood plain, flood basin, point
bar, channel bar and palaeo channels with admixtures
of sand, silt and clay. The deltaic plain includes palaeo
tidal flats with clays and sands and sand ridges or gray
brown sand. The marine coastal plains include beach,
tidal flats, salt marsh, mangrove swamps, deposits of
sand and clay. The Cretaceous formations of the
coastal track of the Cauvery Basin consist of faunal
rich marine sedimentary rocks, namely limestones,
sandstones, clays and sandy beds etc. The mouth of
the river comprises alluvial deposits which are com
posed of clays and silts.
3. MATERIALS AND METHODS
For to sample collection, a base map was prepared
using survey of India toposheets (1 : 50000) scale.
During field work, it was planned to collect 20 sedi
ment samples. The investigations were carried out
from 2008 to 2009, and covered four seasons in a year.
Five sampling stations in the estuary were selected
including freshwater zone, estuary and marine
regions. The sediment samples were collected by using
a Van Veen grab sampler on board hired fishing boat.
Subsampling of the sediments was done by taking
1
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5
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N
79400 E 79450 E 79500 E
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N
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N
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N
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N
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N
79400 E 79450 E 79500 E
0 1 2 4 km
Legends
Qf QfmQm
Fluvial quaternary sediments (Qf),
FluvioMarine quaternary sediments (Qfm),
Marine quaternary sediments (Qm)
Ceramic brick & tile clays
Tirumalairajan River
Road
Railway line
N
S
W E
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q
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Fig. 2. Geological Map of the Study Area.
OCEANOLOGY Vol. 54 No. 4 2014
GRAIN SIZE TREND AND HYDRODYNAMIC CONDITION 535
upper 5 cm of the sample from grab with the help of
plastic spatula. Sediment samples were taken from
high tide mark with help of plastic spatula. Locations
were identified by Global Positioning System (GPS,
GARMAN 76CSx). The collected sediment samples
were dried in the air at 60C for further analysis. Dry
sieving was made at 1/4 phi interval for the size range
2500 to 63 m using Retch digital sieve shaker
(AS 200) for 20 minutes. Further, pipette analysis was
used to determine the grain size of sediments less than
63 m. The granulometric analyses were calculated by
using GSSTAT, SEDPLOT programs developed by
USGS (United States Geological Survey). The spatial
distribution of the sand, silt and clay contents in sedi
ments of the Tirumalairajan river estuary was displayed
as spatial map [7] sediment classification using Arc
GIS map sediment classification pattern. The revised
Textural classification of ternary diagram was pro
posed by Flemming [2]. The results of grain size trend
analysis were performed by Le Rouxa method [11].
4. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
During the study period (Figs. 3a, 3b, 3c and 3d),
the silty sand nature was observed at estuary region
(stations2, 3 and 4) when compared to the mouth
and freshwater zone. The muddy sand was found in
freshwater zone (station5) during monsoon season
of year 20082009 (Table 1). Silty sand nature shows
increasing trend up to stations 2 to 4 and then
decreases towards the upstream. This may be due to
the calm nature and nonlinear sandmud mixing
under the complex hydrodynamic condition [8, 18,
20, 22]. During summer and premonsoon seasons,
silty sand type of sediments were found in estuarine
region. This could be attributed to low fluvial dis
charge and a better mixing of saline and freshwater
that facilitates flocculation and coagulation resulting
in settling of fine particles.
The revised textural classification scheme [2] of
gravelfree muddy sediments proposed in this paper. In
this revised diagrams twenty five classes were proposed
considering the hydrodynamic condition (Table 2). The
advantage of this scheme over previous ones is a better
spatial resolution of textural provinces and a sharper
delimitation of the sand and mud end members by
restricting reciprocal contamination to < 5% in each
case. This restriction is useful for the better differenti
Table 1. Content ratio of sand, silt and clay in estuarine environment according to four seasons
Stations/
Seasons
Monsoon Postmonsoon Summer Premonsoon
Sand, % Silt, % Clay, % Sand, % Silt, % Clay, % Sand, % Silt, % Clay, % Sand, % Silt, % Clay, %
1 94.33 4.25 1.42 95.76 3.21 1.03 97.64 1.32 1.04 96.05 2.53 1.42
2 68.03 23.29 8.68 69.02 22.77 8.21 69.42 24.52 6.06 59.92 37.77 2.31
3 74.62 18.65 6.73 67.56 26.23 6.21 84.68 11.78 3.54 61.43 35.16 3.41
4 78.32 17.32 4.36 68.76 26.92 4.32 91.60 6.12 2.28 62.04 32.93 5.03
5 91.32 3.25 5.43 95.66 2.62 1.72 97.33 1.06 1.61 95.69 3.22 1.09
Table 2. Revised 25 textural classes based on sand/ silt/clay
ratios (Flemming, 2000)
Code Textural Class
S Sand
AI Slightly silty sand
AII Slightly clayey sand
BI Very silty sand
BII Silty sand
BIII Clayey sand
BIV Very clayey sand
CI Extremely silty sandy mud
CII Very silty sandy mud
CIII Silty sandy mud
CIV Clayey sandy mud
CV Very clayey sandy mud
CVI Extremely clayey sandy mud
DI Extremely silty slightly sandy mud
DII Very silty slightly sandy mud
DIII Silty slightly sandy mud
DIV Clayey slightly sandy mud
DV Very clayey slightly sandy mud
DVI Extremely clayey slightly sandy mud
EI Silt
EII Slightly clayey silt
EIII Clayey silt
EIV Silty clay
EV Slightly silty clay
EVI Clay
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VENKATRAMANAN et al.
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Tirumalairajan River
B
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B
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N
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794852 E
794852 E
Legend
Bay of Bengal (Sea)
Silty sand
Sand
Location
Folk
Sediment
Classification
0
0.25
0.5 1 1.5 2 km
(b)
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Tirumalairajan River
B
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B
e
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N
N
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794852 E
794852 E
Legend
Bay of Bengal (Sea)
Silty sand
Sand
Location
Folk
Sediment
Classification
0
0.25
0.5 1 1.5 2 km
(a)
Muddy sand
Fig. 3a. (a) Spatial distribution of sediments map during monsoon. (b) Spatial distribution of sediments map during postmon
soon. (c) Spatial distribution of sediments map during summer. (d) Spatial distribution of sediments map during premonsoon.
ation of sedimentary environments consisting of pure
sands or muds. During the study period (Fig. 4), the
sediment samples fall in sand (S), slightly silty sand
(AI), slightly clayey sand (AII), very silty sand
(BI), silty sand (BII), clayey sand (BIII). This
indicates the high to moderate energy condition. Fur
thermore, this shows the less influence of freshwater
flow and relatively calm nature of the coast which
OCEANOLOGY Vol. 54 No. 4 2014
GRAIN SIZE TREND AND HYDRODYNAMIC CONDITION 537
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B
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B
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N
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Legend
Bay of Bengal (Sea)
Silty sand
Sand
Location
Folk
Sediment
Classification
0
0.25
0.5 1 1.5 2 km
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B
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Legend
Bay of Bengal (Sea)
Silty sand
Sand
Location
Folk
Sediment
Classification
0
0.25
0.5 1 1.5 2 km
(c)
(d)
Fig. 3. (Contd.)
favors the settlement of fines in estuarine region during
monsoon and postmonsoon seasons. During the mon
soon season, the energy condition of the river is rela
tively high as compared to the other seasons. As a
result, the fine particles have been removed leading the
relatively coarser materials in estuarine part of the
river. This technique was efficiently used by Villas [23]
in San Sebastian Bay, Argentina. This plot exhibits the
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VENKATRAMANAN et al.
depositional pattern invoking a size sorting mechanism
associated with the local hydrodynamic energy gradi
ent.
Based for this assumption, four trend types are domi
nant in nature as follows:
Type 1F, B, (finer, better sorted, more negative
skewed)
Type 2C, B, + (coarser, better sorted, more pos
itive skewed)
Type 3C, B, (coarser, better sorted, more neg
ative skewed)
Type 4F, B, + (finer, better sorted, more positive
skewed)
The grain size trend analysis was performed by surfer
software (ver. 11). During the study period (Fig. 5), only
the first trend type (F, B, ) produces statistically valid
transport direction according to the Watson test. The
transports pathways are mainly directed towards east
ern direction in the downstream of the river. Sedi
ments are carried from the upstream of the river
mainly by the velocity of the flowing water. Whereas in
the estuarine region, sediments transport vector
towards the eastern and western direction, indicates
the mixing of fresh and saline water. In the particular
location of the study area, a convergence of transport
vector direction was noted and therefore depositions
of sediments were coming from the two different envi
ronments such as river and sea. However, the wind and
currents mainly controlled the sediments during study
period and indicated a southeast flow direction [1, 14,
17, 21].
CONCLUSIONS
The present study can be concluded that the varia
tions and dynamics of grain size characteristics in the
sediments of Tirumalairajan estuarine region might be
resulted from wave refraction and longshore currents.
The silty sand nature was observed in the estuarine
CLAY
SILT SAND
H
y
d
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Legend
Samples (all the seasons)
E

V
I
E

V
E

I
V
E

I
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E

I
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E

I
D

V
I
DV
DIV
DIII
DII
DI
C

V
I
CV
CIV
CIII
CII
CI
BIV
BIII
BII
BI
AII
AI
S
Fig. 4. Ternary diagrams for a revised textural classification considering hydrodynamic condition.
OCEANOLOGY Vol. 54 No. 4 2014
GRAIN SIZE TREND AND HYDRODYNAMIC CONDITION 539
region, while sand nature was observed in mouth and
freshwater zone. Based on the revised textural classi
fication, the present estuarine environment belongs
to the moderate energy level. This study can be
contributed to the grain size trends method
of Le Rouxa et al. [11] using Surfer software
(ver. 11) by Le Rouxa et al. [11]. The current and
tides are the major forces that may promotes the
exchanges of the sediments in Tirumalairajan river estu
ary with the open sea. By contrast, water circulation in
this river estuary is mainly controlled by wind. The
directions of sediment transport obtained from grain
size trend analysis follow the trend of water circulation.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This research was supported by a Research Grant
of Pukyong National University (2014 Year).
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