The Vaikrita Group made up of coarse mica-garnet-kyanite and sillimanite-bearing psammitic metamorphics constituting the bulk of the Great Himalaya in Kumaun is divisible into four formations, namely theJoshimath comprising streaky, banded psammitic gneisses and schists, the Pandukeshwar consisting predominantly of quartzite with intercalations of schists, thePindari made up of gneisses and schists with lenses of calc-silicate rocks and overwhelmingly injected by Tertiary pegmatites and granites (Badrinath Granite) leading to development of migmatites, and theBudhi Schist comprising biotite-rich calc-schists. The Vaikrita has been thrust along the Main Central Thrust over the Lesser Himalayan Munsiari Formation made up of highly mylonitized low-to meso-grade metamorphics, augen gneisses and phyllonites.
Petrological studies demonstrate contrasting nature of metamorphism experienced by the Vaikrita and the Munsiari rocks. Sillimanite-kyanite-garnet-biotite-muscovite (±K-feldspar and ± plagioclase).—quartz metapelites and interbanded calc-schists and calc-gneisses with mineral assemblages of calcite-hornblende-grossular garnet, labradorite (An50−An65), (± K-feldspar)-quartz (± biotite), and hornblende-diopside ± labradorite ± quartz, suggest medium to high grade of metamorphism or indicate upper amphibolite facies experienced by the rocks of the Vaikrita Group. The associated migmatites, granite-gneisses and granites of the Pindari Formation were formed largely as a result of anatexis of metapelites and metapsammites. While, the sericite-chlorite-quartz and muscovite-chlorite-chloritoid-garnet-quartz, assemblages in metapelites and epidote-actinolite-oligoclase (An20)-quartz and epidote-hornblende-andesine (An29) ± quartz in the metabasites suggest a low-grade metamorphism (greenschist facies) for the Munsiari Formation, locally attaining the lower limit of medium-grade (epidote-amphibolite) facies.
The inferred P-T conditions obtained from textural relations of various mineral phases and the stability relationship of different coexisting phases in equilibrium, suggest that the temperature ranged between 600° and 650° C and pressure was over 5 kb for the Vaikrita rocks. The mineral assemblages of the Munsiari Formation indicate comparatively lower P-T conditions, where the temperature reached approximately 450° C and pressure was near 4 kb.
The rocks of the two groups were later subjected to intense shearing, cataclasis and attendant retrograde metamorphism within the zone of the Main Central (=Vaikrita) Thrust.
Volume 130, 2021
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