Office of Academic Affairs
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Bhopal

Earth and Environmental Sciences

EES 615: Reconstructing Quaternary Continental Environments and Climates of South Asia (4)

Learning Objectives:

This course aims to provide an inter-disciplinary perspective to studying past continental sedimentary environments and climates of the Indian Sub-Continent. Going beyond the instrumental records of historical time scales requires the use of proxy data that is embedded in natural archives such as ice cores (glaciers), lake sediments, tree rings, speleothems and others. Apart from laying the foundations required for understanding multiple approaches to environmental and climate reconstructions of the continental sedimentary record, overviews of the stratigraphy and sedimentation patterns of some selected Quaternary domains of the Indian Sub-continent will be presented. Case histories from the Himalayan lake sediments and glaciers, Thar lake sediments, the large river systems of the Indo-Gangetic Plains, speleothems, and tree rings shall be used to elucidate the paleao-climatology of the continental records of the South Asian monsoonal regime.

Course Contents:

Depositional Sedimentary Environments:
Sedimentary Environments, as a product of the complexity of earth surface processes, nature of changing sedimentary record through the Cenozoic, incompleteness of stratigraphic records; Tectonics, climate and eustasy – their role in sediment accumulation; Fluid flow and sediment transport, clastic sediments, sediment routing systems and concepts of sediment connectivity; Carbonate sediments and depositional settings; Lithification and diagenesis; Facies analysis, seismic facies analysis; Sedimentary basins- formation mechanisms and tectonic classification

Reconstruction of Quaternary Paleoclimates:
Overview of climate science; Climate archives, data  and models; dating climate records; CO2 and the long term climate; Orbital scale climate change; Insolation control on monsoons and ice sheets; Deglaciation, Last Glacial maximum (LGM) and climate since last deglaciation; millennial oscillations of climate; Humans and Pre-Industrial climate; Climate change in the last millennium.

Case Histories of Quaternary Climate Reconstructions:
Overview of the Cenozoic Sedimentary basins of India with a focus on Himalayan, Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) and Thar Quaternary Sequences; Review of monsoonal history over the last 18000 years; Himalayan lake and Ice core records; Lake records of Thar and its margins; Fluvial and Lake records of the IGP; Millenial scale monsoonal reconstructions from tree rings and speleothem records from the Indian Sub-continent; Inter-regional comparisons of Holocene climate changes in India and other Asian monsoonal systems.

Suggested Readings :

  1. Nichols, G., 2009, Sedimentary and Stratigraphy (2nd Edition), Wiley – Blackwell.
  2. Prothero, D. R., and Schwab, F., 2014, Sedimentary Geology – An Introduction to Sedimentary Rocks and Stratigraphy (3rd Edition), WH Freeman and Company.
  3. Jones, N. P., and Jones, B., 2015, Origin of Carbonate Sedimentary Rocks, Wiley.
  4. Bradley, R. S., 2015, Palaeoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary (3rd Edition), Elsevier.
  5. Ruddimann, W. F., Earth’s Climate – Past and Future (3rd Edition), W H Freeman and Company.

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