Sunderbans: Physical Aspects and Configurations

  • Gautam Kumar Das
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 11)


Sunderbans forms a part of the world’s largest fluvio-marine Ganges – Brahmaputra deltaic plain at the confluence of the Bay of Bengal with the largest block of halophytic mangrove forest. It has passed through a dynamic and complex physiographical and geomorphological history. Prograding in phases towards Bay of Bengal during Plio-Pleistocene inter-glacial period, it has left behind numerous distinctive landforms and islands of various shapes and sizes. The intricate network of rivers, tidal creeks and inlets with dynamic flow pattern accelerates the process of erosion and accretion and make the geomorphic set-up of the area a complex one. The important morphotypes of Sunderbans are beaches and inlets, creeks and estuaries, mudflats, coastal dunes, sand flats and mangrove swamps.


Sunderbans Mangroves Bay of Bengal Ganga – Brahmaputra delta 


  1. Alam M, Curray JR, Alam MM, Chowdhury MLR, Gani MR (2003) An overview of the sedimentary geology of the Bengal basin in relation to the regional tectonic framework and basin-fill history. Sediment Geol 155:179–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allison MA (1998) Geological framework and environmental status of the Ganges- Brahmaputra delta. J Coast Res 14(3):826–836Google Scholar
  3. Anonymous (2003) A handbook on Sunderbans Biosphere Reserve. Ed. Director, SBR, KolkataGoogle Scholar
  4. Bagchi KG (ed) (1972) The Bhagirathi – Hooghly Basin. Calcutta University Publ., CalcuttaGoogle Scholar
  5. Banerjee M, Sen PK (1988) Paleobiology and environment of deposition of Holocene sediments of the Bengal Basin, India. In: Palaeoenvironment of East Asia from the mid- tertiary: proceedings of the second conference. Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, pp 703–731Google Scholar
  6. Bhattacharya A (1993) Backwash and swash oriented current crescents: indicators of beach slope, current direction and environment. Sediment Geol 84:139–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bhattacharya A (1999) Embankments and their ecological impacts: a case study from the tropical low-lying coastal plains of the deltaic Sunderbans, India. In: Vollmer M, Grann H (eds) Large-scale constructions in coastal environments. Springer, Berlin, pp 171–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bilham R, England P (2001) Plateau ‘pop up’ in the great 1897 Assam earthquake. Nature 410:806–809CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Biswas B (1963) Results of exploration for petroleum in the Western part of Bengal basin, India. Proc 2nd Symp Dev Ptr Res ECAFE Min Res Div Ser 18(1):241–250Google Scholar
  10. Coleman JM (1969) Brahmaputra River: channel process on sedimentation. Sediment Petrol 3((2/3) Spl Issue):129–139Google Scholar
  11. Curray JR (1991) Geological history of the Bengal geosynclines. J Assoc Explor Geophys XII:209–219Google Scholar
  12. Das GK (2006) Sunderbans-environment and ecosystem. Levant, KolkataGoogle Scholar
  13. Das GK (2009) Beach processes of Tidal Islands of Hugli Estuary, West Bengal. Geogr Rev India 71(3):240–248Google Scholar
  14. Das GK, Bhattacharya A (2002) Dynamic geomorphic environment of Indian Sunderbans. In: Basu SR (ed) Changing environmental scenario of the Indian sub-continent. ACB Publication, Kolkata, pp 284–298Google Scholar
  15. Davies JL (1964) A morphogenetic approach to world shoreline. Zeits Fur Geomorph 8:127–142Google Scholar
  16. Davies JL (1972) Geographical variation in coastal development. Oliver & Boyd, EdinburgGoogle Scholar
  17. De Boer PL, Oost AP, Visser MJ (1989) The diurnal inequality of the tide as parameter for recognizing tidal influences. J Sediment Petrol 59:912–921Google Scholar
  18. Flemming BW, Fricke AH (1983) Beach and nearshore habitat as a function of internal geometry, primary sedimentary structures and grain size. In: McLachlann A, Erasmus T (eds) Sandy beaches as ecosystems. Dr. W. Junk Publ., The HagueGoogle Scholar
  19. Galloway WE (1975) Process framework for describing the morphologic and stratigraphic evolution of deltaic depositional systems. In: Broussard ML (ed) Deltas, models for exploration. Houston Geological Society, Houston, pp 87–99Google Scholar
  20. Ginsberg SS, Perillo GME (2004) Characteristics of tidal channels in a mesotidal estuary of Argentina. J Coast Res 20(2):489–497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Harms JC, Fahenstock RK (1965) Stratification, Bed forms and flow phenomena with an example of Rio grade in Primary Sedimentary Structures and their hydrodynamic interpretation, S.E.M.M. Spec. publ. 12., pp 84–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Inman DL, Nordstrom CE (1971) On the tectonic and morphologic classification of coasts. J Geol 79:1–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. IPCC (2007) Climate change-2007. Impacts, adaptations and vulnerability. Contribution of working group II to the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  24. Komar PD (1976) Beach process and sedimentation. Prentice Hall Inc, Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  25. Kuehl SL, Levy BM, Moore WS, Allison MA (1997) Subaqueous delta of the Ganges- Brahmaputra river system. Mar Geol 144:81–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Morgan JP (ed) (1970) Deltaic sedimentation: modern and ancient. Special Publication Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists 15, Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Tulsa, 312pGoogle Scholar
  27. Sengupta S (1966) Geological and geophysical studies in the western part of Bengal basin, India. Am Assoc Petrol Geol Bull 50:1001–1017Google Scholar
  28. Sengupta S (1972) Geological framework of the Bhagirathi-Hugli Basin. The Bhagirathi-Hugli Basin proceedings of the inter disciplinary symposium. Calcutta University Publications, Calcutta, pp 3–8Google Scholar
  29. Sharma AP (2010) Coastal zone vegetation in India with reference to mangroves and need for their conservation. In Sunderbans: issues and threats. CIFRI (ICAR), Kolkata, pp 9–40Google Scholar
  30. Sikdar AM, Alam MM (2003) 2-D modeling of the anticlinical structures and structural development of the eastern fold belt of the Bengal basin, Bangladesh. Sediment Geol 155:179–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Umitsu M (1993) Late Quaternary sedimentary environments and landforms in the Ganges delta. Sediment Geol 83:164–178Google Scholar
  32. Umitsu M (1997) Landforms and floods in the Ganges delta and coastal lowland of Bangladesh. Mar Geol 20(1):76–87Google Scholar
  33. Vannucci M (1989) The mangroves and us; a synthesis of insights. Indian Association for the Advancement of Science, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  34. Wright ID, Short AD (1982) Morphodynamics of beaches and surfaces in Australia. In: Komar PD (ed) Hand book Coastal processes and erosions. CRC Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gautam Kumar Das
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringJadavpur UniversityKolkataIndia

Personalised recommendations