Grain surface features and clay mineralogy of the quaternary sediments from Western Deccan Trap Region, India, and their palaeoclimatic significance

Quartz sand grains obtained from a deeply gullied topography along the banks of two tributaries of River Pravara in Maharashtra (India) have been examined with a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Quartz grains have been selected after a heavy mineral separation and micro-photographs of each grain were taken at various angles and magnifications. The sediments reveal features resulting from mechanical grinding as well as from chemical alteration. Conchoidal fractures, cleavage planes, grooves, v-shaped indentations etc. are the mechanical features documented on the grains whereas solution pits of varying sizes and intensity, precipitation surfaces, oriented v-pits, solution crevasses and etching are the features of chemical origin. Several evidences indicate that the samples have undergone digenetic changes. Few grains show the features of intense chemical breakdown. The overall assemblages of the grain surface features suggest that the samples have been subjected to subaqueous transport for a considerable period of time. The minor chemical features such as solution pits or semi circular arcuate steps found in abundance on these grains are due to the dissolution of the sediments in a low energy fluviatile environment. For clay mineralogy, fractions between <2  and <0.2 mm were separated out from the sediments. The clay fractions were then subjected to examination by X-ray diffraction (XRD) of oriented K/Ca saturated samples using a Philips Diffractometer and Nifiltered Cu Ka radiation with the scanning speed of 1 0 2Ө min -1. The main clay minerals for all the samples are identical and show the presence of hydroxy-interlayered smectites with minor quantities of mica, kaolinite, smectites, quartz and feldspar. The first weathering product of the Deccan Basalt (DB) is the dioctahedral smectite. Since the present semi aridic climatic condition of the study area can not transform a smectite to HIS and either smectite to kaolin, it is quite likely that both the HIS and Sm/K are generated in the tropical humid climate of the Western Ghats and then carried through the exiting river system like Godavari, Adula and Mahalungi. Therefore it is evident that the clay minerals present in these sediments represent another climatic history more humid than the one prevailing at present.

Heavy metal content of flood sediments and plants near the River Tisza

The River Tisza is Hungary’s especially important river. It is significant not only because of the
source of energy and the value insured by water (hydraulical power, shipping route, stock of fish,
aquatic environment etc.) but the active floodplain between levees as well. Ploughlands, orchards,
pastures, forests and oxbow lakes can be found here. They play a significant role in the life of the
people living near the river and depend considerably on the quality of the sediments settled by the
river. Several sources of pollution can be found in the catchment area of the River Tisza and some of
them significantly contribute to the pollution of the river and its active floodplain. In this paper we
study the concentration of zinc, copper, nickel and cobalt in sediments settled in the active floodplain
and the ratio of these metals taken up by plants. Furthermore, our aim was to study the vertical
distribution of these elements by the examination of soil profiles. The metal content of the studied
area does not exceed the critical contamination level, except in the case of nickel, and the ratio of
metals taken up by plants does not endanger the living organisms. The vertical distribution of metals
in the soil is heterogeneous, depending on the ratio of pollution coming from abroad and the quality
of flood.

The surroundings and the age of the upper paleolithic site on Susak island

Our study investigates the paleoenvironmental conditions of an Upper Paleolithic site found in the excavation of the North Adriatic Susak Island. Our research explores the range of the loess and loesslike sediments deposited on rudist limestone which is the substratum of the island. We studied the Quaternary sediments by a coherent paleoenvironmental assessment method. The geomorphological and the various chronological analysis contribute significantly to the extension of our knowledge on the paleoenvironmental conditions of the Upper Paleolithic site (Radiocarbon age is 31,830 ±720 yr BP) on Susak Island.

Morphological grouping of fossil floodplain forms in the northeastern part of the Pannonian plain

The Bereg Plain is located in the northeastern part of the Pannonian Plain, close to the Carpathian
Mountains. Clarification of the evolution of its topography is essential for the development of the whole
area. The former single alluvial cone has been fragmented, some parts of it subsiding and others rising.
The displacements of the subsided parts of the area were dominated by erosion processes, as in the Bereg
Plain. As a consequence, a significant part of the sand in the area has been degraded and only traces of it
remain in the Bereg Plain. The existing sand patches have been identified and classified using DEM. In the
area identified 10 floodplain islands not yet mentioned in the scientific literature. The investigation of
the numerous islands – hitherto unknown and be-longing to different morphological types – enabled us a
reconstruction of the surface development of the Bereg Plain that is more differentiated and precise than
ever before. Based on their morphogenetic properties, these floodplain islands can be divided into three
main types: (1) erosion islands, (2) point-bars, (3) coastal dunes. In the area, I could recognize no pattern
or re-gularity in the position of the individual forms of any type. In many cases, the direction of the
longitudinal trends is perpendicular to one another, which excludes their Aeolian origin. The sediment
of the floodplain islands mainly consists of medium-, small- and fine-sized sand, but the settlement of
loess-mantled and loess-like layers among the sandy sediment of certain forms can also be observed. The
layer with 15 % lime content and 53–60 % loess fraction (0.05–0.01 mm) – found in the 110–50 cm high
section of the erosion island called the Homok-tanya in Mátyus – can be considered a typical loess, based
on the detailed parameters. Its formation in all probability took place at the same time and under similar
conditions than that of the more than 2 m thick aeolian loess mantle found in the Nyírség area, some 10
km west from there, which had accumulated before the Bölling period. In case of an erosion island 2.5
km to the south and lying some 2 m lower, such a loess mantle cannot be found anymore, despite the fact
that the sandy layers of the two sediment series are almost completely identical. The background of this
phenomenon is the more active and frequent, mainly erosional fluvial processes – because of the lower
position –, which eroded the loess mantle.
The composition of the surface sediments is de-termined by the absolute altitude as well. The cover
sediment of the lower-lying islands is identical to the finishing silt-clay deposits found at the alluvial
parts of the Bereg Plain, whereas the surface of higher-lying forms that have not seen flood for ages, is
covered by sand or loessy sand.

Estimating soil loss from a watershed in Western Deccan, India, using Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation

USLE (Universal Soil Loss Equation) is the original and the most widely accepted soil loss estimation technique till date which has evolved from a design tool for conservation planning to a research methodology all across the globe. The equation has been revised and modified over the years and became a foundation for several new soil loss models developed all around the world. The equation has been revised as RUSLE by Renard et al. (1991) and is computed in GIS environment. The Revised equation is landuse independent which makes it a useful technique to apply in a variety of environment. The present paper is an attempt to estimate soil loss from a semi-arid watershed in Western Deccan, India by employing RUSLE. The region is a rocky terrain and sediments are restricted to only a few localities. The result indicates that the region is at the threshold of soil tolerance limit.