Advertisement

The Thar Desert Calcretes: A Proxy for Understanding Late Quaternary Paleoclimate Shifts

  • Hema AchyuthanEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Science, Technology & Innovation book series (ASTI)

Abstract

In the Thar Desert, India, calcretes occur in several geomorphic environments and have been classified based on their form, induration, chemistry and associations with parent material. These calcretes have been dated from late Neogene-Early Pleistocene (hardpan calcretes) to 5 ka (nodular calcretes). The calcretes consist of CaCO3 (40–75%) with SiO2, Al2O3 and Fe2O3 content in decreasing amounts. Integration of multiple data including textural, chemistry and soil micromorphology indicate that the calcrete nodules formed within the dunes are pedogenic in origin while those occurring in the interdunal depressions are largely groundwater formations. Hardpan calcretes formed on various types of bedrocks are geosols and complex in origin. Stable isotope data for the pedogenic calcretes of C and O vary from −3.8 to −0.2‰, and between −6.1 and −1.5‰ for 18O PDB values, groundwater calcretes (δ13C −2.0 and 2.5‰, and between −5 and −1‰ for δ18O) and hardpan calcretes yield slightly higher δ18O values (−5.9 to −1.3‰) than the eolian pedogenic carbonates indicating that the calcretes in the desert margin of the Thar Desert was formed near the surface supporting a thin veneer of soil column. The carbon isotope values signify both C3 and C4 vegetation, with increasing C4 vegetation since the late Quaternary period.

Keywords

Late Quaternary Calcrete Pedogenic Groundwater Geosols Semi-arid to arid conditions 

References

  1. 1.
    Alonso-Zarza, A.M.: Palaeoenvironmental significance of palustrine carbonates and calcretes in the geological record. Earth Sci. Rev. 60, 261–298 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Achyuthan, H.: Petrologic analysis and geochemistry of the Late Neogene-Early Quaternary hardpan calcretes of western Rajasthan, India. Quatern. Int. 106–107, 3–10 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Achyuthan, H., Quade, J., Roe, L., Plazcek, C.: Stable isotopic composition of pedogenic carbonates from the eastern margin of the Thar Desert, Rajasthan, India. Quatern. Int. 162, 50–60 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dhir, R.P.: Western Rajasthan soils. In: Jaiswal, P.L. (ed.) Desertification and its Control, pp. 102–115. Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi (1977)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Carver, R.E.: Procedures in Sedimentary Petrology. Wiley, New York (1971)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Stoops, G.: Guidelines for Analysis and Description of Soil and Regolith Thin Sections. Soil Science Society of America, Madison, WI (2003)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Andrews, J.E., Singhvi, A.K., Kailath, A.J., Kuhn, R., Dennis, P.F., Tandon, S.K., Dhir, R.P.: Do stable isotope data from calcrete record late Pleistocene Monsoonal climate variation in the Thar Desert of India? Quatern. Res. 50, 240–251 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bajnoczi, B., Horvath, Z., Demeny, A., Mindszenty, A.: Stable isotope geochemistry of calcrete nodules and septarian concretions in a Quaternary ‘red clay’ paleovertisol from Hungary. Isot. Environ. Health Stud. 42, 335–350 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Eren, M.: Stable isotope geochemistry of Quaternary calcretes in the Mersin area, southern Turkey—a comparison and implications for their origin. Chem. Erde 71, 21–27 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Jutras, P.: Climate fluctuations recorded in phreatic and vadose calcretes of the Lower Carboniferous Clyde Sandstone Formation of Machrihanish, Kintyre Peninsula, SW Scotland. Geol. Soc. Lond. 174, 646–654 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Singh, B.P., Lee, Y.I.I., Pawar, J.S., Charak, R.S.: Biogenic features in calcretes developed on mudstone: examples from Paleogene sequences of the Himalaya, India. Sed. Geol. 201, 149–156 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Ocean ManagementAnna UniversityChennaiIndia

Personalised recommendations