Erosion–deposition and land use/land cover of the Brahmaputra river in Assam, India

  • Lalit SaikiaEmail author
  • Chandan Mahanta
  • Abhijit Mukherjee
  • Suranjana Bhaswati Borah


The Brahmaputra is a unique dynamic river in the world with intense braiding and critical bank erosion. Both erosion and deposition are continuous processes in the river in an attempt to reach a new equilibrium in channel geometry and morphology by the ever dynamic nature of flow. Erosion and deposition of the river have link to land use and land cover (LULC) as the land cover is under constant change in a dynamic landscape constantly shaped by continuous erosion and deposition. The objective of the present work is to evaluate the extent of erosion and deposition along the Brahmaputra river and change in the LULC of the Brahmaputra river in Assam, India. Remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) techniques were utilised to extract information from Landsat images. Total area of erosion and deposition during 1973–2014 was 1557 and 204 km2, respectively. Increase in area (28%) of the Brahmaputra during 1973–2014 is not solely due to bank erosion, but also for the bifurcation of streams without the loss of land. LULC study has revealed that 29% area was occupied by active channels and 71% was occupied by bars in 2014. Maximum reaches experienced reduction of the submerged part in 2014 compared to 1994 in the post-monsoon months with an overall decrease from 37% to 29%. A reduction in natural grassland and forest has been observed with a corresponding increase in agricultural practices in different bars and islands of the Brahmaputra in Assam during 1994–2014.


Alluvial river erosion–deposition LULC Brahmaputra Assam 



This manuscript is a part of the PhD thesis of the first and corresponding author from the Department of Civil Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India. The author acknowledges the Department’s laboratory and the Institute’s library for the facilities available during his PhD work.


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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth ScienceUniversity of Science and Technology MeghalayaMeghalayaIndia
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology GuwahatiGuwahatiIndia
  3. 3.Department of Geology and GeophysicsIndian Institute of Technology KharagpurKharagpurIndia
  4. 4.Department of Environmental ScienceTezpur UniversityTezpurIndia

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