Distribution of clay minerals in marine sediments off Chennai, Bay of Bengal, India: Indicators of sediment sources and transport processes .
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Clay mineralogy, texture size and statistical analyses were carried out on surface sediments from the continental shelf of Chennai, Bay of Bengal, India. The purpose of this study is to characterize the clay mineral distribution and its relation to the hydrodynamics off Chennai to identify the sources and transport pathways of the marine sediments. Characterization of clay minerals in coastal sediments by Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy has provided the association of quartz, feldspar, kaolinite, chlorite, illite and iron oxides (magnetite and hematite) derived from river catchments and coastal erosion. Kaolinite, chlorite, illite, iron oxides, and organic matter are the dominant minerals in Cooum, and Adayar region. High quartz and feldspar zones were identified in Marina, which are being confined the sand zone and paralleling the coast. The strong relationships among the wave energy density, sand, quartz and carbonate revealed that wave induced littoral drift system play a dominant role in transportation and deposition of sediments in the Chennai coast. The sediment texture and minerals data are in agreement well with the previous results of hydrodynamics and littoral drift models in this region. Multivariate statistical analyses (correlation, cluster and factor analyses) were carried out and obtained results suggested that clay minerals and organic matter are trapped in silt and clay particles, whereas quartz, feldspar and carbonate are associated with sand particles. Results of sediment sources and transport processes from this study will be useful to predict the fate of the pollutants released from land or the potential change in sediment delivery to coastal areas.
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