Salinization and arsenic contamination of surface water in southwest Bangladesh
We present a review of the processes, morphology, and stratigraphy of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta (GBMD), including insights gained from detailed elevation data. The review shows that the GBMD is best characterized as a composite system, with different regions having morphologic and stratigraphic attributes of an upland fluvial fan delta; a lowland, backwater-reach delta; a downdrift tidal delta plain; and an offshore subaqueous-delta clinoform. These distinct areas of upland and lowland fluvial reaches and tidal dominance vary in time and space, and we distinguish late-Holocene phases of delta construction, maintenance, and decline similar to delta-lobe cycling in other systems. The overall stability of the GBMD landform, relative to many deltas, reflects the efficient, widespread dispersal of sediment by the large monsoon discharge and high-energy tides that affect this region. However, we do identify portions of the delta that are in decline and losing elevation relative to sea level owing to insufficient sediment delivery. These areas, some of which are well inland of the coast, represent those most at risk to the continued effect of sea-level rise.