Vaigai river once flowed up to Sri Lanka, say researchers

The Vaigai flowed up to Galle in Sri Lanka several thousands of years ago, according to an article by researchers from the Department of Remote Sensing, Bharathidasan University, on submerged river systems.

The article has been published in the latest issue of Nature India Journal.

Satellite data

Their finding supported by satellite data also indicates that the Tamirabharani was a tributary of Vaigai in the past.

Citing the report jointly authored by Professor of Eminence Somasundaram Ramasamy and Assistant Professor J. Saravanavel, the article states that the two rivers estimated to be more than 20,000 years old were submerged due to rise in sea level.

The researchers used bathymetric (underwater topography) data downloaded from a public website GEBCO (General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans) and geographic information system software (ArcGIS) to create images of the ocean floor. The images showed well-defined depressions and gorges resembling river valleys in the offshore regions of the Vaigai and Tamirabharani rivers.

The researchers further used data sourced from an Indian Remote Sensing satellite to determine that one of the well-defined depressions coincided with the Vaigai mouth. From there, it extended eastward to the ocean to the north of Rameswaram island and then in a southerly direction for more than 400 km up to west of Galle in Sri Lanka.

The morphology indicates that the ocean floor resembling a river-cut valley may be the old path of the Vaigai.

Another major depression in the ocean floor coincided with the mouth of the Tamirabharani, the article states. The rivers are now submerged several metres under water in the Gulf of Mannar that divides India and the island nation, says the report.

Kumari Kandam

Mr. Ramasamy has been quoted in the article as stating that location of the buried Vaigai in the Gulf of Mannar region has raised a lot of curiosity about the lost Kumari Kandam, the disputed mythical continent.

The same content published with larger details in the June issue of Current Science describes the researchers' observation of abrupt truncation of the two rivers in their delta and their attribution of the cause to constant tectonic uplift of the land and consequent progradation of the delta.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 1:30:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/vaigai-river-once-flowed-up-to-sri-lanka-say-researchers/article28764107.ece

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