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Bengal Fan

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Title: Bengal Fan  
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Subject: Ganges, Landforms of India, Abyssal fan, Sediments, Ninety East Ridge
Collection: Ganges, Landforms of Bangladesh, Landforms of India, Sediments
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Bengal Fan

The Bengal Fan, also known as the Ganges Fan, is the largest submarine fan on Earth. The fan is about 3000 km long, 1000 km wide with a maximum thickness of 16.5 km. The fan resulted from the uplift and erosion of the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau produced by the collision between the Indian Plate and the Eurasian Plate. Most of the sediment is supplied by the confluent Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers through the Ganges Delta in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India, with several other large rivers in Bangladesh and India providing smaller contributions.[1] Turbidity currents have transported the sediment through a series of submarine canyons, some of which are more than 1,500 miles (2,414 km) in length, to be deposited in the Bay of Bengal up to 30 degrees latitude from where it began. To date, the oldest sediments recovered from the Bengal fan are from Early Miocene age.[2] Their mineralogical and geochemical characteristics allow to identify their Himalayan origin and demonstrate that the Himalaya was already a major mountain range 20 million years ago.[3]

The fan completely covers the floor of the Bay of Bengal.[4] It is bordered to the west by the continental slope of eastern India, to the north by the continental slope of Bangladesh and to east by the northern part of Sunda Trench off Myanmar and the Andaman Islands, the accretionary wedge associated with subduction of the Indo-Australian Plate beneath the Sunda Plate and continues along the west side of the Ninetyeast Ridge.[4][5] The Nicobar Fan, another lobe of the fan, lies east of the Ninetyeast Ridge.[5]

The fan is now being explored as a possible source of fossil fuels for the surrounding developing nations.

The fan was first delineated and named by Joseph Curray and David Moore following a geological and geophysical survey in 1968.[5][6]


  1. ^ Curray, Joseph R.; Frans J. Emmel; David G. Moore (December 2002). "The Bengal Fan: morphology, geometry, stratigraphy, history and processes". Marine and Petroleum Geology (Elsevier Science Ltd) 19 (10): 1191–1223.  
  2. ^ Cochran, J.R.; Stow, D.A.V.; et al. (1989). "116 Initial Reports Table of Contents". Proc. ODP, Init. Repts. (Ocean Drilling Program College Station, TX) 116.  
  3. ^ France-Lanord, Christian; Derry L.; Michard A. (1993). "Evolution of the Himalaya since Miocene time: isotopic and sedimentological evidence from the Bengal Fan". Geological Society Special Publication 74: 603–621.  
  4. ^ a b Tilmann Schwenk; Volkhard Spiess (2009). "ARCHITECTURE AND STRATIGRAPHY OF THE BENGAL FAN AS RESPONSE TO TECTONIC AND CLIMATE REVEALED FROM HIGH-RESOLUTION SEISMIC DATA". SEPM Special Publication, No. 92. External Controls on Deep-Water Depositional Systems. SEPM ( 
  5. ^ a b c France-Lanord, Christian; Volkhard Spiess; Peter Molnar; Joseph R. Curray (March 2000). "Summary on the Bengal Fan: An introduction to a drilling proposal" (PDF). Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. 
  6. ^ Curray, Joseph R.; David G. Moore (March 1971). "Growth of the Bengal Deep-Sea Fan and Denudation in the Himalayas". Geological Society of America Bulletin 82 (3): 563–572.  

Further reading

  • Bastia, Rabi; Suman Das; M. Radhakrishna (October 2010). "Pre- and post-collisional depositional history in the upper and middle Bengal fan and evaluation of deepwater reservoir potential along the northeast Continental Margin of India". Marine and Petroleum Geology 27 (10): 2051–2061.  
  • Subrahmanyam, V.; K. S. Krishna; M. V. Ramana; K. S. R. Murthy (2008). "Marine geophysical investigations across the submarine canyon (Swatch-of-No-Ground), northern Bay of Bengal" (PDF). Current Science (Indian Academy of Sciences) 94 (4): 507–513. 

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