GEOPHYSICAL MONOGRAPH SERIES, VOL. 198, PP. 97-106, 2012
Geomorphological Constraints on the Ghaggar River Regime During the Mature Harappan Period
The course of the Ghaggar ephemeral stream has been proposed as a possible location for the mythical Sarasvati River. Here
we examine “the Lost Sarasvati” hypothesis from a geomorphological perspective with the aid of a new chronology of floodplains
and sand dunes in the Ghaggar river basin. First, we compare the floodplains of the large glacial-fed Himalayan Rivers with
the Ghaggar floodplain to show that the size of floodplains is directly proportional to the volume of annual river discharges.
Thus, the Ghaggar floodplain is too small to explain large discharges along this stream in the past or under the present ephemeral
flows. Next, we use optically stimulated luminescence to determine the age of sand dunes developed on either side of Ghaggar
floodplain. These dunes have started to form prior to the Mature Harappan period and continue to grow until present. In our
conclusions, we argue that the Ghaggar was not a large river as “the mighty Sarasvati” has been described at least during
the Mature Harappan period.
Citation: Maemoku, H.,