I thought the flooding in Pakistan has been caused by poor or non-existing civil engineering, flood control and irrigation maintenance, plus an exploding population forced to live on flood plains.
I am currently exploring Quaternary deposits of the Ganga Plains in northern India, in cooperation with Dr. S.K. Tandon (University of Delhi), Dr. R. Sinha (Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur), and Dr. Mayank Jain (Risoe National Laboratory, Denmark). Our current interest is focused on cliffs more than 30 m high that border many rivers in the southern and western parts of the Himalayan Foreland Basin.
These cliffs expose strata that exceed 100 ka in age, providing an excellent record of alluvium through the last glacial and interglacial cycle -- and perhaps beyond. Our purpose is to establish a stratigraphic framework for the alluvium, which contains prominent discontinuities as well as aggradational successions.
A paper is now published in Journal of Sedimentary Research (v. 75, 2005). Our data suggest that strong variations in the strength of the monsoon have basically controlled the sequence architecture in this region. Please contact me for a pdf of the JSR paper. Abstract.
We are also attempting to determine how long the Himalayan-derived Ganga and Yamuna have occupied their present positions, the timing of incision of these large rivers, and the timing of their apparent southward migration through time (craton-derived channel sands lie at depth). We are also using remote-sensing images and field study to investigate the modern Ganga-Yamuna interfluve, which is not currently flooded by the big rivers, and is underlain locally by lacustrine and eolian sediments.
To assist us, a small drilling rig has been slowly but effectively providing us with core down to more than 50 m below the plains' surface. Within the next year, we hope to have completed a drilling and outcrop traverse across the southern plains which, with radiocarbon and OSL dates, should provide us with a first-pass assessment of river dynamics in this important area -- arguably the world's premier alluvial plain and a key modern analogue for foreland basin deposits of the rock record.
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