Facies pattern of the middle Permian Barren Measures Formation, Jharia basin, India: The sedimentary response to basin tectonics
In the Lower Gondwana succession of the Jharia basin of eastern India, the Barren Measures Formation is characterized by the cyclic disposition of fine-grained lacustrine deposits and relatively coarse-grained fluvial deposits. The cyclic variation in the rate of coarse clastic input is attributed to the sedimentary response to basin tectonics. The sandstone-shale alternations of the Barren Measures succession can be correlated with the tectonic cyclothems developed on the hangingwall dip-slope and adjoining trough in a continental half-graben setting. Enhancement of the gradient of the hangingwall dip-slope during reactivation of the basin margin faults led to progradation of the existing fluvial system towards the half-graben trough and deposition of the coarser clastics on the fine-grained lacustrine deposits of the trough. Peneplanation of the hangingwall slope and slow increase in the lake level caused lacustrine transgression and retrogration of the fluvial system on the hangingwall block. The fluvial sediments were onlapped by the fine-grained lacustrine deposits. Episodic rejuvenation of the basin margin faults thus caused development of tectonic cyclothem on the hangingwall block. The paleocurrent pattern indicates that a persistent northward paleoslope was maintained during Barren Measures sedimentation. The inferred depositional settings were much more extensive than the present limit of the outcrop. The faults, presently defining the northern limit of the Barren Measures Formation, were possibly emplaced after Barren Measures sedimentation. The final movement along these fault planes caused preservation of the downthrown hangingwall block and the Barren Measures sediments on the footwall block were eroded during subsequent denudation. The Southern Boundary Fault came into existence after the deposition of the Barren Measures sediments.