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Episodes 2020; 43(1): 498-510

Published online March 1, 2020


Copyright © International Union of Geological Sciences.

Late Quaternary sedimentation history of the Himalaya and its foreland

Anil Kumar1, Yogesh Ray2, Rupa Ghosh1, Sujay Bandyopadhyay3, Vimal Singh4, Pradeep Srivastava1*

1Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, 33 GMS Road, Dehradun 248 001, Uttarakhand, India
2National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, Headland Sada, Vasco da Gama-403 804, Goa, India
3Department of Geography, Kazi Nazrul University, Asansol 713 340, Paschim Barddhaman, West Bengal, India
4Department of Geology, Chhatra Marg, University of Delhi, Delhi – 110007, India

Correspondence to:Email: pradeep@wihg.res.in

Received: January 20, 2019; Revised: August 7, 2019; Accepted: August 7, 2019

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Himalaya and its foreland acted as a coupled system that responded to the climate variability and evolved as a thrust and fold belt. The river systems draining the Himalaya, the Ganga foreland act as an artery that helps registering climate and tectonic signals into its geomorphology and sedimentary history. The paper discusses the late Quaternary landscape evolution of the mountain and its foreland and reviews the published literature in the context. It mainly focusses on the alluvial landscape and compiles the chronological data to decipher the evolution of mountain, the Ganga foreland and the delta. The review suggests that rivers in Himalaya largely aggraded during the climatic transition between the dry glacial and wet interglacial. The incision of the river valleys took place during peak of the warm interglacial periods when Indian Summer Monsoon strengthened. The Ganga plain rivers exhibit varied geomorphology that depended on the proximity to the mountain, forebulge of the foreland and type of drainage (transverse or axial). The rivers in the west are incised while those in the east are shallow and avulsive. The sedimentary history of the Ganga plain implies being forced from N-S movement of monsoon front and foreland dynamics over the past 120 ka. The delta region of Ganga has been responding to the fluctuating sea level and delta progradation (retro-gradation).