Estimating groundwater inputs from Sankarabarani River Basin, South India to the Bay of Bengal evaluated by Radium (226Ra) and nutrient fluxes

  • Saravanan G Department of Earth Sciences, School of Physical, Chemical and Applied Sciences, Pondicherry University, Puducherry-605014, India.
  • Ponnumani G Department of Earth Sciences, School of Physical, Chemical and Applied Sciences, Pondicherry University, Puducherry-605014, India.
  • Rajesh Kanna A Department of Earth Sciences, School of Physical, Chemical and Applied Sciences, Pondicherry University, Puducherry-605014, India.
  • Srinivasamoorthy K Department of Earth Sciences, School of Physical, Chemical and Applied Sciences, Pondicherry University, Puducherry-605014, India.
  • Prakash R Department of Earth Sciences, School of Physical, Chemical and Applied Sciences, Pondicherry University, Puducherry-605014, India.
  • Gopinath S Department of Earth Sciences, School of Physical, Chemical and Applied Sciences, Pondicherry University, Puducherry-605014, India.
  • Babu C Department of Earth Sciences, School of Physical, Chemical and Applied Sciences, Pondicherry University, Puducherry-605014, India.
  • Vinnarasi F Department of Earth Sciences, School of Physical, Chemical and Applied Sciences, Pondicherry University, Puducherry-605014, India.
  • Karunanidhi D Department of Civil Engineering, Sri Shakthi Institute of Engineering and Technology, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu 641 062, India
  • Subramani T Department of Geology, CEG Campus, Anna University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600 025, India
Keywords: Groundwater discharge, Radium isotope, Nutrients, Algal blooms, Hypoxia


Sankarabarani river basin gains significance due to presence of major industrial, agricultural, urban development and tourist related activities has influenced the water quality in the estuarine environment.  Investigations about river water quality has been attempted but not more studies focus about the evaluation of groundwater discharge a significant process that connects groundwater and the coastal seawater have been attempted.  For the present study, radium (226Ra) a naturally occurring isotope was measured at three locations and used as effective tracers for estimating the groundwater discharge along with nutrient inputs to the Bay. Groundwater samples representing north east monsoon (December, 2017) has been collected during tidal variation in three locations (Location A- away from the coast towards inland, Location B-intermediate between Location A and the coast and Location C-at the estuary). 226Ra mass balance calculated groundwater fluxes irrespective of tidal variations were 2.27×108 m3/d, 2.19×108 m3/d and 5.22×107m3/d for A, B and C locations respectively. The nutrients like Dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN), Dissolved inorganic Phosphate (DIP) and Dissolved Silica (DSi) were found to be influencing the coastal groundwater by contributing fluxes to the sea of about 679.33 T mol/day. The study suggests increasing radium and nutrient fluxes to the Bay altering the coastal ecosystems would result in surplus algal blooms creating hypoxia.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...


W. C. Burnett, M. Taniguchi, J. A. Oberdorfer. Measurement and significance of the direct discharge of groundwater into the coastal zone. Journal of Sea Research,46 (2001), 109–116.

W.S. Moore. The effect of submarine groundwater discharge on the ocean. Annual Review of Marine Science. 2 (2010a) 59–88.

I. R. Santos, B. D. Eyre, M. Huettel, The driving forces of porewater and groundwater flow in permeable coastal sediments: A review. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science. 98 (2012) 1–15, DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-20806-2.

P. Xin, C. Robinson, L. Li, D. A. Barry, R. Bakhtyar. Effects of wave forcing on a subterranean estuary, Water Resources Research. 46 (2010). doi:10.1029/2010wr009632.

P. Xin, S.S.J. Wang, C. Lu, C. Robinson, L. Li, Nonlinear interactions of waves and tides in a subterranean estuary. Geophysical Research Letters. 42 (2015) 2277-2284.

I.S. Zektser, H. A. Loaiciga. Groundwater fluxes in the global hydrologic cycle: past, present and future. Journal of Hydrology.144 (1993).405 – 427.

W.C. Burnett, R. Peterson, W. S. Moore, J. de Oliveira. Radon and radium isotopes as tracers of submarine groundwater discharge results from the Ubatuba, Brazil SGD assessment inter comparison. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. 76 (2008) 501–511.

Garcia, H. E. et al. Dissolved Inorganic Nutrients (phosphate, nitrate, silicate), World Ocean Atlas 2013 (ed. Levitus, S. & Mishonov, A.) vol 4, 1–25 (Silver Spring, 2013).

Kim I, Kim G Large fluxes of rare earth elements through submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) from a volcanic island, Jeju, Korea. Mar Chem 127 (2011) 12–19. em.2011.07.006

P.W. Swarzenski, C.D. Reich, R.M. Spechler, J.L. Kindinger, W.S. Moore. Using multiple geochemical tracers to characterize the hydrogeology of the submarine spring off Crescent Beach, Florida. Chemical Geology. 179 (2001) 187–202, 00322-9

Xuejing Wang, Hailong Li, Jiu Jimmy Jiao, D. A. Barry, Ling Li, Xin Luo, Chaoyue Wang, Li Wan, Xusheng Wang, Xiaowei Jiang, Qian Ma, Wenjing Qu, Submarine fresh groundwater discharge into Laizhou Bay comparable to the Yellow River flux, Scientific Reports, 5 (2015) 8814, DOI:

D.E. Bradley, L.J. McKee, Carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus budgets for a shal-low subtropical coastal embayment (Moreton Bay, Australia). Limnology and Oceanography. 47 (2002) 1043–1055.

D. Hwang, G. Kim, Y.W.Lee, H. S.Yang. Esti-mating submarine inputs of groundwater and nutrients to a eu-trophic coastal bay using a radium tracer. Marine Chemistry. 96 (2005) 61–71.

I. Valiela, J. Costa, K. Foreman, J.M. Teal, B.L. Howes, D. Aurrey. Transport of groundwater borne nutrients from watersheds and their effects on coastal waters. Biogeochemistry. 10 (1990) 177–197

Y. Lee, G. Kim. Linking groundwater-borne nutrients and dinoflagellate red-tide outbreaks in the southern sea of Korea using a Ra tracer, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science,71 (2007) 309–317,

C.P. Slomp, P. Van Cappellen. Nutrient inputs to the coastal ocean through submarine groundwater discharge: controls and potential impact. Journal of Hydrology. 295 (2004) 64–86. jhydrol.2004.02.018

Prakash R. Srinivasamoorthy K, R. Gopinath, K. Saravanan. Measurement of submarine groundwater discharge using diverse methods in Coleroon Estuary, Tamil Nadu, India, Applied Water Science. (2018) 8:13.

M. E. Gonneea, A. Mulligan, M.A. Charette, Seasonal trends in radium activities within the mixing zone of a subterranean estuary, Waquoit Bay, MA. Eos Transactions AGU Ocean Sciences Meeting Supplement, 87 (2006). Abstract OS15B-01.

W.C. Burnett, P. K. Aggarwal, A. Aureli, H. Bokuniewicz, J.E. Cable, M.A. Charette, E. Kontar, S. Krupa, K. M. Kulkarni, A. Loveless, W.S. Moore, J. A. Oberdorfer, J . Oliveira, N. Ozyurt, P. Povinec, A. M. G. Priviter, R. Raja, R. T. Ramassur, J. Scholte, T. Stieglitz, M. Taniguch, J.V. Turner. Quantifying submarine groundwater discharge in the coastal zone via multiple methods. Science of The Total Environment, 367 (2006) 498–543.

Makoto Taniguchi, Henrietta Dulai, Kimberly M. Burnett, Isaac R. Santos, Ryo Sugimoto, Thomas Stieglitz, Guebuem Kim, Nils Moosdorf , William C. Burnett. Submarine Groundwater Discharge: Updates on Its Measurement Techniques, Geophysical Drivers, Magnitudes, and Effects, Frontiers in Environmental Science, 01 October 2019,

J. E. Cable, W. C. Burnett, J. P. Chanton, G. L. Weatherly. Estimating groundwater discharge into the northeastern Gulf of Mexico using radon-222. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 144 (1996) 591–604.

Sonali P. Shukla, Mark A. Chandler, David Rind, Linda E. Sohl, Jeff Jonas and Jean Lerner, Teleconnections in a warmer climate: the pliocene perspective, Climate Dynamics. 37 (2011) 1869–1887.

R. P. Kelly, S. B. Moran. Seasonal changes in groundwater input toa well-mixed estuary estimated using radium isotopes and implications for coastal nutrient budgets. Limnology and Oceanography. 47 (2002) 1807–1976

Willard S. Moore, The Effect of Submarine Groundwater Discharge on the Ocean, Annual Review of Marine Science. 2 (2010) 59–88.

M. Taniguchi, W.C. Burnett, J.E. Cable, J.V. Turner. Investigations of submarine groundwater discharge. Hydrological Processes. 16 (2002) 2115–2129.

T. Nakajima, R. Sugimoto, O. Tominaga, M. Takeuchi, H. Honda, J. Shoji, M. Taniguchi. Fresh and recirculated submarine groundwater discharge evaluated by geochemical tracers and a seepage meter at two sites in the Seto Inland Sea, Japan. Hydrology. 5 (2018) 61. doi: 10.3390/hydrology5040061

S. Bejannin, P. Van Beek, T. Stieglitz, M. Souhaut, J. Tamborski. Combining airborne 706thermal infrared images and radium isotopes to study submarine groundwater discharge along 707the French Mediterranean coastline. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies13 (2017) 72-90.

Yan Zhang, Hailong Li, Kai Xiao, Xuejing Wang, Xiaoting Lu, Meng Zhang, An An, Wenjing Qu, Li Wan, Chunmiao Zheng, Xusheng Wang, Xiaowei Jiang. Improving Estimation of Submarine Groundwater Discharge Using Radium and Radon Tracers: Application in Jiaozhou Bay, China. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. 122 (2017) 8263-8277.

K. Srinivasamoorthy, G. Ponnumani, R. Prakash, S. Gopinath, K. Saravanan, F. Vinnarasi. Tracing groundwater inputs to Bay of Bengal from Sankarabarani River Basin, Pondicherry, India, using continuous radon monitoring. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology. 16 (2018) 5513–5524.

R. Prakash, K. Srinivasamoorthy, S. Gopinath, K. Saravanan. Submarine groundwater discharge as sources for dissolved nutrient fluxes in Coleroon river estuary, Bay of Bengal, India. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology. 233 (2020) 103660

W. Moore. Large ground-water inputs to coastal waters revealed by 226Ra enrichment. Nature. 380 (1996) 612–614

M. E. Gonneea, P. J. Morris, H. Dulaiova, M. A. Charette. Newperspectives on radium behavior within a subterranean estuary. Marine Chemistry. 109 (2008) 250–267.

M. A. Charette, R. Splivallo, C. Herbold, M. S. Bollinger, W. S. Moore. (2003). Salt marsh submarine groundwater discharge as traced by radium isotopes. Marine Chemistry. 84 (2003) 113-121.

J. Gleeson, I. R. Santos, D. T. Maher, L. Golsby-Smith. Groundwater–surface water exchange in a mangrove tidal creek: evidence from natural geochemical tracers and implications for nutrient budgets. Marine Chemistry. 156 (2013) 27–37.

G. J. Hancock, I. T. Webster, P. F. Ford, W. S. Moore. Using Ra isotopes to examine transport processes controlling benthic fluxes into a shallow estuarine lagoon. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 64 (2000) 3685–3699.

W. S. Moore. Sources and fluxes of submarine groundwater discharge delineated by radium isotopes. Biogeochemistry. 66 (2003) 75-93.

J. M. Krest, W. S. Moore, L. R. Gardner, J. T. Morris. Marsh nutrient export supplied by groundwater discharge: Evidence from radium measurements. Global Biogeochemical Cycles.14 (2000) 167-176.

A. Rajesh Kanna, K. Srinivasamoorthy, G. Ponnumani, S. Gopinath, R. Prakash, D. Karunanidhi, F. Vinnarasai. Assessment of Radon in groundwater and associated human risk from Sankarabarani River Sub Basin, Southern India. International journal of civil, environmental and agricultural engineering, 1 (2019) 8-18.

P. Chandramohan, Longshore Sediment transport model with particular reference to the Indian Coast. Unpubl. Ph.D. thesis, IIT, Madras, (1988). 210 p.

W.S. Moore, D.F. Reid, Extraction of radium from natural waters using manganese-impregnated acrylic fibers. Journal of Geophysical Research. 90 (1973) 6983–6994.

K. Eckerman, J. Harrison, H. G. Menzel, C. H. Clement. ICRP Publication 119: compendium of dose coefficients based on ICRP Publication 60. Annals of the ICRP. 41 (2012) 1-130.

M. Raghavayya, M. Iyengar, P.M. Markose. (1980) Estimation of Ra-226 by emanometry. Bull Radiat Prot 3:5

T. S. Shashikumar, M. S. Chandrashekara, N. Nagaiah, L. Paramesh, (2009). Variations of radon and thoron concentrations in different types of dwellings in Mysore city, India. Radiation Protection Dosimetry, 133 (2009) 44-49.

Peter W. Swarzenski, Ra and Rn isotopes as natural tracers of submarine groundwater discharge in Tampa Bay, Florida. Marine Chemistry 104 (2007) 69–84.

Hyung-Mi C, Guebuem Kim, Eun Young Kwon, Nils Moosdorf, Jordi Garcia-rellana, Isaac R. Santos. Radium tracing nutrient inputs through submarine groundwater discharge in the global ocean, scientific reports. 2439 (2018).

A.L. Ramanathan, V. Subramanian, R. Ramesh, S. Chidambaram, A. James. Environmental geochemistry of the Pichavaram mangrove ecosystem (tropical), southeast coast of India. Environmental Geology. 37 (1999) 223–233.

Y.W. Lee, G. Kim, W.A. Lim, D.W. Hwang. A relationship between submarine groundwater-borne nutrients traced by Ra iso-topes and the intensity of dinoflagellate red-tides occurring in the southern sea of Korea. Limnology and Oceanography. 55 (2010) 1–10.

Jianan Liu, Jinzhou Du, Lixin Yi. Ra Tracer-Based Study of Submarine Groundwater Discharge and Associated Nutrient Fluxes into the Bohai Sea, China: A Highly Human affected Marginal Sea, Journal of Geophsical Research: ocean. (2017).

Daniel Montiel, Natasha Dimova, Bartolomé Andreo, Jorge Prieto, Jordi García-Orellana, Valentí Rodellas. Assessing submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) and nitrate fluxes in highly heterogeneous coastal karst aquifers: Challenges and solutions, Journal of Hydrology. 557 (2018) 222–242.

Central Groundwater board, Ground water brochure (2007) Puducherry Region Union Territory of Puducherry, technical report series, SECR/DBR/UT/12-13/01 27

How to Cite
G, S.; G, P.; A, R. K.; K, S.; R, P.; S, G.; C, B.; F, V.; D, K.; T, S. Estimating Groundwater Inputs from Sankarabarani River Basin, South India to the Bay of Bengal Evaluated by Radium (226Ra) and Nutrient Fluxes. ijceae 2020, 2, 17-32.

Views: Abstract : 38 | PDF : 32

Plum Analytics