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Trincomalee harbor is located in northeast Sri Lanka. The Mahawelli River, Sri Lanka’s longest, reaches the Bay of Bengal at Trincomalee (Fig 1). The Mahawelli River carries much of the terrigenous sediment derived from Sri Lanka. It continues offshore as a major submarine canyon, making Trincomalee one of the finest deep-water harbors in the world. Trincomalee canyon has three main headwater branches. The inner harbour at Trincomalee lies at the head of one of these branches; the other two lie in Koddiyar Bay. Trincomalee canyon has a length of 4.0 km, and depth varies from 600 to 1500m.
The estuarine environment (including coastal lagoons) constitutes an important interface between the land and the sea. This interface acts as a buffer zone, and in turn as an absorbent. This buffer zone is enriched by both oceanic and continental inputs, and is among the most productive of aquatic ecosystems. Coastal lagoons, are typical estuarine environments, and receive the by-products of inland human activities. Sub-sections of sediment cores reflect the geochemical history of a given region, including any anthropogenic impact. Hence, sediments act as useful indicators of long- and medium-term metal flux. Since the intermediate buffer zones act as absorbents, the sediments will record all chemical variations that have taken place. This study thus represents one of the first comprehensive studies of the geochemistry of sediments of Trincomalee Lagoon, and also of the interface between land and sea.
The main scope of this study is to carry out geochemical investigations of Trincomalee Bay sediments to determine provenance, and identify Quaternary events and the effects of anthropogenic activities. Surface and core sediment samples will be collected, followed by XRF analysis and 14C dating of sediments. Oxygen isotope compositions of selected water samples will also be determined. Data analysis and geochemical modeling will be the final phase.