Provenance and distribution of clay minerals in the sediments of the western continental shelf and slope of India

National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula-403004, Goa, India
Continental Shelf Research (Impact Factor: 1.89). 12/1995; 15(14):1757-1771. DOI: 10.1016/0278-4343(94)00092-2


The distribution of clay minerals from 156 surficial sediments of the western continental margin of India, ranging from 17 to 2000 m water depth, indicate that there are three principal sources of sediments. The illite and chlorite-rich assemblage derived from the Indus (Indus Province) is predominant in the continental margin sediments to the north of the Gulf of Kachchh. An assemblage of smectite with minor kaolinite, illite and chlorite, mostly derived from the Deccan Trap basalts (Deccan Trap Province), occurs all along the inner shelf from Saurashtra to Goa. Illite, however, dominates smectite in the outer shelf of Saurashtra and on the continental slope from Saurashtra to Goa. Some samples on the outer shelf of the Gulf of Cambay-Goa show trace contents of all clay minerals, while others from the same region show the dominance of smectite over illite. A smectite and kaolinite-rich assemblage with minor illite, chlorite and gibbsite derived from the Gneissic Province occurs both on the shelf and slope between Goa and Cochin.It appears that the Indus derived sediments are transported onto the continental slope and, to a lesser extent, the outer shelf of western India by a southerly surface current and admix with clays transported from the hinterland. The influence of the Indus borne sediments on the continental slope decreases from north to south and cross shelf transport processes dominate in the southwestern continental margin between Goa and Cochin.

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