Sanjay Kumar Mandal

Assistant Professor
Dept: Earth Sciences (DES)
E-mail: sanjaykm [at]
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Research Interest:

I am passionate about understanding the processes that shaped the solid Earth. Essentially my research seeks to answer the questions: How well do we know the physical processes of landscape evolution in the face of changing environments? How does the landscape reflect the interactions between tectonics, climate, and surface processes? Conversely, how do we read the landscapes to understand the processes that dictate its spatial and temporal patterns of evolution? In particular, I am interested in the rapidly growing, interdisciplinary field of climatic-tectonic-erosion interactions, and the consequences this has for long-term landscape change, both in terms of creation and destruction of the Earth’s surface topography and in terms of sediment output from the catchments. This has led me to look at the role of climate and other environmental change in controlling the landscape erosion rates, and also to think about how we should use the sediment archives to obtain an accurate chronology of mountainous landscape erosion rates during the Pliocene-Pleistocene climatic transitions and the Quaternary-like climatic oscillations. My interest in this topic stems not only from general curiosity but also from the recognition that the geomorphic response to the effects of climate change is a major issue for landscape management and planning in the rapidly developing mountainous regions, such as the Himalaya and its populated foreland. I approach these problems with a combination of topographic analysis using digital elevation data and satellite imagery, structural and geomorphic field-based mapping, and a wide variety of analytical tools in tectonic geomorphology and geochemistry. My research interests are analytically intensive and focus on the measurement of cosmogenically produced isotopes (10Be and 26Al ) in present-day stream sediments as well as in ancient sedimentary rocks and exposed bedrocks. However, it is important to couple information from these isotopic tools with other isotope systems (stable and radiogenic), to maximally constrain the erosion rate chronologies of the mountainous landscapes. Therefore, I use the thermochronometric techniques such as the apatite (U-Th-Sm)/He dating to quantify the cooling and exhumation histories of the bedrocks as well as isotopic (Sr and Nd) and geochronologic (zircon U-Pb dating) tools for identifying the sediment provenance.

Academic Background:

  1. PhD (Tectonic Geomorphology), ETH Zurich, 2015
  2. MSc (Applied Geology), Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, 2009
  3. BSc (Geology (Hons.)), Asutosh College (University of Calcutta), 2007


  1. Assistant Professor, IISER Kolkata ( - )
  2. Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences (2016 - 2018)
  3. Postdoctoral Researcher, ETH Zurich (2015 - 2015)
  4. Geologist, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (2009 - 2011)

Awards and Honors:

  1. INSPIRE Faculty from Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India (2016)
  2. Humboldt Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers from Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2016)

Selected Publications:

  1. Mandal, Sanjay Kumar; Scherler, Dirk; Romer, Rolf L.; Burg, Jean-Pierre; Guillong, Marcel and Schleicher, Anja M.. 2018."Multiproxy Isotopic and Geochemical Analysis of the Siwalik Sediments in NW India: Implication for the Late Cenozoic Tectonic Evolution of the Himalaya." Tectonics, 38, 1-24
  2. Mandal, Sanjay Kumar; Burg, Jean-Pierre and Haghipour, Negar. 2016."Geomorphic fluvial markers reveal transient landscape evolution in tectonically quiescent southern Peninsular India." Geological Journal, 52, 681–702
  3. Mandal, Sanjay Kumar; Fellin, Maria Giuditta; Burg, Jean-Pierre and Maden, Colin. 2015."Phanerozoic surface history of southern Peninsular India from apatite (U-Th-Sm)/He data." Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 16, 3626–3648
  4. Mandal, Sanjay Kumar; Lupker, Maarten; Burg, Jean-Pierre; Valla, Pierre G.; Haghipour, Negar and Christl, Marcus. 2015."Spatial variability of 10Be-derived erosion rates across the southern Peninsular Indian escarpment: A key to landscape evolution across passive margins." Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 425, 154-167

All Publications: Click Here