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JOURNALGEOLOCICALSOCIETY INDIA OF vol 56, Aug 20oo,pp.

2l3-217

Salinity Model Inferred from TWoShallow Coresat SambharSalt Lake, Rajasthan


R. SrNHnr B.C. RnvvnHesHnv2 and
Engineering Ceology Group,Department Civil Engineering, of IndianInstitute Technology, of Kanpur 20E016 'rsinha@iitk in ?bcr@iitk.ac.in ac Abstract:The Sambhar ofcentmlRajasthan, lake localed bctween AjrnerandJaipur. a hypenaline is sludyfocuses the mineralogy the lacustrine on of late. Th prcsent sediments this rcgion.X-ray of pattems paltem diffmclion ofshallow auger samples hole showa broad offluctuation venicalprofiles. in in It is apparent rockweathering thecalchment supplies flux ofclasticminerals quanz. that area a like feldspar and mica duringlhe wt period.This is followedby an evaporite sequence carbonalof in sulfate-chloride dry climateThus,an abundance ofcalcile indicates beginning the ofevaporation. while laterstages chamcterized thedominance (henardite finally ofhalite. are by of and geochemislry Keywords:Sedimentology, Sdiment Clayminerals, Evaporits. Saline lake.

INTRODUCTION Sambharis the largestinland saline lake of India covering an area of approximately 225 (Fig. I ). It is a rather sq. km in centralRajasthan speciallake not only because its geological of importancebut also because its peculiar of physical and chemical characteristics. The watersofthe Sambharlake have beenusedfor centuriesto make salt. However, the origin of salt hasbeendebatedfor a long time. Recently, Biswas et al. (1975) and Bhattacharya al. et (19?5) presentedgeochemicaldata on the Sambharlake brine and have reviewed the currenttheories oforigin ofsalinityofthe lake. Rameshet al. (1993) have carried out limited isotopic analysis of waters from Didwana, Sambhar and KuchamanlakesofRajasthanand hypothesized thal the lake water is meteoric (non-marine)and the salt in the lake water may be locally derived from the weathering rocks. of A few radiocarbon determinationshave also beenmadeofthe lacustrine deposits ofSambhar by Singh et al. (19'12\ in conjunction with stratigraphic palynological and investigations. Wassonet al. (1984) carried out a study on the Didwana lake, about 64 km northwest of

Sambharlake, highlightingthe geochemical history ofthe lake interpretedthrough the lake s e d i m e n t s .S u n d a r a ma n d P a r e e k ( 1 9 9 5 ) outlined the major fluvial and lacustrinefacies in the Sambharlake region using boreholedata a n d p r o v i d e d i n t e r e s t i n go b s e r v a t i o n s n o depositional environments. A detailed geochemicalmodel based on evaporationprecipitation sequencewas tested at Sambhar lake by Yadav(1997).Roy ( 1999)hasreviewed the physicalevolution of saline lakes of Rajasthanand has reiteratedthat the Sambhar lake may haveevolved asa pull-apartstructural depression due to strike-slip faulting along curvilinear planes as suggestedoriginally by Sinha-Roy (1986). The presentpaper focuses on the sediment mineralogy of shallow cores from lhe Sambharlake with a view to proposing a preliminary rnodel for chemical evolution of the lake. STUDY AREA AND METHODS Locatedabout80 km nonhwestofJaipur in centralRajasthan, Sambhar a shallowlake, is reachingonly about 3m at its deepest,with an

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R SINHA ANI) B C RAYMAHASHAY

ilil1 (vi
NowoA SAMBT.IAR

Jfi-)

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Fig.l. Sambhar ldke and its surroundrng\i some impotunt localities (A) and sampling siles (+) ar markcd.

average deplh not exceeding 0.6t m. The maximum lengthof the lake basinis 22.5 km, from 3.2km to I 1.2km. while thewidth ranges The lake bed(360 m abovesealevel)is almost flat, with a slopeof lessthan l0 cm per km. @rijgopal andSharma.1994).The areacovered by the lake is spreadover a transitionalclimatic zone with arid climateat the westand a semiarid climatic zonetowardsihe east.The climate ofthe areais influencedmainly by the monsoon ofthe areai.e.the Aravalli and the physiography range. The averageannual precipitation over this region ranges liom 550 mm to 650 mm, while the temperatureaveragesaround 23"C, 1990). with a maximumof45'C (Sharma. on the eastemflank Sambharlake is situated of the Aravalli mountains,which is in turn The lake by dissecled a numberof windgaps. concealing is on a stretchofflat sandsheet basin t h e u n d e r l y i n g s t r u c t u r a la n d l i t h o l o g i c a l featurcs.The sunounding uplandsare madeof

consistingof jointed rocksof Delhi Supergroup and foliated micaceousquartzites,which have prominent outcrupsin the Govindi-Nawa area to the north of the lake. Nodules of limestone/ marble with underlying mica schist form the basemertbelow a thick layer of sand,which is overlain by a zone of saliferoussilt (Brijgopal and Sharma,1994). Sambharlake is fed by lwo major tivers flowing from namely,Mendha and Rupangarh, Many respectively. NNE and SSW directions other small streamsdebouchfrorn the Aravalli in hills and then disappear the aeoliansand cover. The entire drainagesystemof this area is structurally controlled, as suggestedby paralleldrainage,lineamentcontrolled ver caplures.inversion of slopes and consequent inversionin drainagedirection,and anomalous tenacing in adjacentrivers. East of the main belongingto Arsvalli axis, all paleochannels Mendhariver show the initial dominanceof VOL SOC.INDIA. 56,AUC 2(nO JOUR.GEOL

AT FROMTWO SHALLOWCORES SAMBHARLAKE SALINITY MODEL INFERRED

215

NE-SW lineamentsand subsequentsuperthroughriver caplure. position N-S courses of were collected hand by samples Sediment augering upto aboui t.6m depth from the Mendhariver bed and at two locationsnamely, Jhapok and Korsina on the dry lake bed formed (Fig.l ). Sampleofa thin saltincrustation on the dry riverbed was collectedseparately. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION XRD deternrination of the mineralogy of collectcdfrom Jhapokindicated lake sediments variation(Fig.2).The sediments a depth-wise alongwith of showthedorninance quartz(3.3,A) ( (7.1A),smectite14.95A) illite ( l0A), kaolinite and variable amounts of mixed layer clays ( l l l 3 A ) . T h e p r e s e n c e f s m e c t i l ew a s o confirmed by glycol treatment. The amountof s m e c r i t e( X - r a y p e a k h e i g h l ) i s m a x i m u m around 100cm. Around this depth,lhe saline phase. It a minerals indicate rapidevaporation appears,therefore, that apart from detrital origin, smectitealsoforms throughevaporation. Sedimentsamplesfrom Korsina also show although of similar assemblage clay minerals, XRD Pf,AK HEIGIIT RATIO o 2 4 6 8 t0 t2 14 16

t h e s m e c t i t e p e a k s i n X - r a y p a t t e r n sa r e relatively broad and poorly defined. evaporation ofwater During the progressive of minerals in a saline lake, the sequence p r e c i p i t a t e d o l l o w s t h e c h e m i c a ld i v i d e s f proposed Eugsterand Hardie (1978).The by in is first precipitate most cases CaCO, (calcite). concentration Ca, of the Subsequently, relative Mg. HCO., SO, and Cl control the succession and Mg-silicates fi nally chlorides of sulphates, (Fig.3). For example if Ca is lessthan HCO; , of alkalinity,precipitation calciteremovesall Ca. Next. all Mg is removed by formation of and lhe water evolves Mg-clay,e.g. smectile, i n t o a N a - C O . - S O , - C |b r i n e a s f o u n d i n by lake.This model is alsosupponed Sambhar the available water chemistry data (Yadav, 1995)listedin Table l. It is clearlyseenthat in t h e r i v e r w a t e r , a l k a l i n i t y i s g r e a t e rt h a n (Ca+Mg), therebyencouraging precipitationof Mg-clay. calcitefollowedby Samples collectedfrom a shallowaugerhole siluated on the southern shore of at Jhapok, ofcalciteand lake,showthepresence Sambhar (NarSOa)in the XRD patterns.The thenardite fully evaporated brine depositshalite in the salt XRD PEAK HEIGIIT RATIO o 2 4 6 8 l0 12 14 16

[ionl*" I Then/Calr
L--rE " " I

c 6 0
I (a) Jhapok

F 8 0
t!

F 8 0

o I00 120
140

H roo
120
140 160

r60

Fig.2. (a) Plot of XRDpeak herght mtio vs. deplh forJhapok stle. (b)Plot of XRD pak hcrghl.rio vs. deplh for Korsina

JOUR GEOL SOC,INDIA. VOL 56. AUC 20fi)

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R. SINHA AND B.C. RAYMAHASHAY Thblel. Summary available of waterchemistry (Concentrations mmol/L) data(afterYadav. 1995), in

Sample location River Mendha GroundWater SambharLake

pH

Na 24.1 2l.5 142.6

K 0 365 0.09 6.31

Ca 0.912 1.65

Mg |.525 2.61 0.085 9.75 24.33 t29.28

sq
4.15 0.75 4.165 11.35 4.4 7

8.2 't.94 8.4

pans.The absence ofgypsum possibly reflects relatively low concentrationofCa in the inflow water For the purposeofillustrating the relative abundance ofevaporite and detrital mineralsin the successivelayers,the ratios of X-ray peak (3.034), thenardite heightsof calcite(2.81A) quartz (3-34 A) have benplotted against and depth(Fig.2a). It is interestingto note that the thenardite/ calcite ratio goes through a maximum around l00cm depth.The quart/thenarditeratio is also minimum ar thisdepth.A sulphate minerallike thenarditeprecipitates a more advancd at stage of evaporation compared with the early stage We calcite. conclude, therelore.lhat increase an in thenarditecontent with respectto calcite and quanz in lhis horizon is dueto rapidevaporation and absenceof detrital input in a dry climate. INFLOW

Similarly, a high quartzcontentat 120cm depth accompanied a low in the thenardite/calcite by ratio providesevidenceofflooding with higher i n p u t o f a e o l i a ns a n d . A s i m i l a r t r e n d i s observed anotherlocationKorsina,albeitwith at slight variationin actuallevelsof maximum and minimum values(Fig. 2b), which may be a function of local differences in the basin geometry. In addition to the above minerals, samples from the top level at Jhapok also contain pellets of the phosphatemineral dufrenire, 3FePOa.Fe(OH)r.Fe(OH),.2H,O. X-ray The prtlern shows-its peaksat 3.10, characteristic 3.24 and 2.44A. Its presencehere is suspected to ba authigenic,contributed from an organic s o u r c e ,l i k e b i r d ' s f a e c e s ( W a s s o n e t a l . 1984).

Na, Ca, Mg, HCOI SO+ Cl

Evaporatign

Ca > Alk

Alk > Ca

Att Ca rcmoved
Na, Ca, Me, So., Cl
Na, Mg, COj SO., Cl

GvDsum - ' Ca >SOt

I Y Mg > Alk Na, ME,SO., Cl

usa.v I
Alk > Mg Atl ltlg rcmovcd
No. COi Sot, Ct

SO. > Cd

Sambhar Fig.3. Preliminary salnitymodel Sambhar (adopted Eugsrer Hardie. for lale from aod 1978)
JOURCEOL,SOC.INDIA. VOL.56.AUC, 2OOO

SALINITY MODEL INFERREDFROM TWO SHALLOW CORESAT SAMBHAR LAKE

217

The bed of the Mendha river draining into Sambharlake from nonheastdirection shows The X-ray pattem abundant salt incrustation. ofthis materialshowspeaksof NarCO' NaNOr, NarSOa(lhenardite) along with quartz and feldspar A SEM-EDX analysisof one of the salt crystals showed a prismatic shapewith This sectionandhigh S-content. triangularcross mineral is, therefore, tentatively identified as thenardiie. CONCLUSIONS The Sambhar,a recognizedsaline lake of internationalimportance,haspeculiarphysical lt andchemicalcharacteristics. is a shallowlake with a maximum depth of 3m fed by seasonal rivers carrying fresh water The lake brine is of the Na-CO,-SO"-Cltyp. From our preliminary study of water chemistry and sediment mineralogy,the brine appearsto have evolved

through progressiveevaporation of inflow water Typical productsof evaporationsuch as calcite and thenarditewere identified in the samplesfrom shallow auger heles along with detrital influx of quartz, illite, kaolinite and smctite. Thesesediments highlight a cyclic depositional sequence clastics evaporites of and reflecting wet and dry phases respectively.The presenceof Mg-clay (smectite) in the lake a of sediments stronglysuggests mechanism Mg-removal during evaporationof lake water The lack of gypsum in the near surfacesample ofSambhar lake sedimentsmay be due to a low influx ofCa into the lakeduringrecenttimes.

Acknovtledpements: The authors aft lhankful lo lhe Depaflment of Science and Technology, Covemmenl of Indra for providing financial assistancefor the ongoing prolect on Sambhar Lake. S.K.Panda, Asim Chatterjee and sudrp canguli helpd out al various stages of the project. J.C. vemu is thanked for drafting work.

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(Receiv.d. May 1999; 7 3l Rerised 2Un) form arccpted: February VOL.56, AUC. 2OOO JOUR.GEOL.SOC.INDIA.