Paleoclimate and Holocene relative sea-level history of the east coast of India

Kakani Nageswara Rao, Shilpa Pandey*, Sumiko Kubo, Yoshiki Saito, K. Ch V. Naga Kumar, Gajji Demudu, Bandaru Hema Malini, Naoko Nagumo, Rei Nakashima, Noboru Sadakata

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The Holocene sea-level history of the east coast of India is relatively unexplored. We analysed a 17.37-m-long sediment core from Kolleru Lake, a fresh waterbody located in a deltaic setting along the east coast of India, to reconstruct the climate, environmental, and sea-level history of the region. Sedimentary facies and pollen assemblages, with nine accelerator mass spectrometry 14C dates (two mollusk shells and seven plant samples) from the core revealed Holocene relative sea-level changes, and provide the first insights into the climate of the region from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to present. A layer of anhydrous calcium sulfate at the core bottom, along with a 14C age of 18.4 cal ka BP, combined with the absence of pollen in mottled yellowish clay, indicated a desiccated lake surface, reflecting a dry LGM climate. Palynomorphs in the overlying calcareous-concretion-bearing light brown silty clay showed a change from arid terrestrial herbaceous plants to freshwater taxa, indicating a change from dry to wet climate after the LGM and before 8.0 cal ka BP. Further upward in the core, black, sticky silty clay with abundant mangrove pollen and mollusk shells indicated a marine environment in Kolleru Lake and aggradational sediment stacking related to the middle Holocene sea-level rise from 8.0 to 4.9 cal ka BP. The uppermost sandy/silty clay, with terrestrial/aquatic pollen and a 14C age of 3.7 cal ka BP indicated a freshwater environment during the late Holocene. Our results show that Kolleru Lake, on the east coast of India, changed from a desiccated state during the dry LGM to a brackish lagoon during the middle Holocene, and then to a freshwater lake by the late Holocene, under the influence of climate and relative sea-level changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-89
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Paleolimnology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Aug 1


  • Desiccated lake
  • Gypsum layer
  • Mangrove pollen
  • Paleo lagoon
  • Relative sea-level rise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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