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Issue No:75
  • :January
  • :2017

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
—a Native American saying

India / Mud Banks

Muddy Waters

As mud banks along the southwest coast of India dwindle, several concerns and societal implications have been articulated regarding this unique oceanographic phenomenon

This article is by P.K. Dinesh Kumar ( is Chief Scientist at CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, Regional Centre, Kochi, Kerala, India

Decades back, at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C, there used to be a regular show in wide screen on ‘Mud Banks of Kerala’—an awe-inspiring event which was given equal importance to the launch of a space mission or an expedition to the rain forests of the Amazon! Mud banks (locally called Chakara) appear in the south Indian state of Kerala in the littoral zones of the Arabian Sea during the summer southwest monsoon and remain calm with exceptional biological production and represent a unique oceanographic phenomenon. They are tranquil marine areas hugging the coast, which develop during the roughest monsoon period. They have a special feature of dampening high waves due to the huge quantities of mud in suspension close to the bottom.

The mud banks appear as an undisturbed sheet of water, when blustery conditions prevail along the outer periphery. Towards the end of a hot, humid summer...

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