Granulite terrains have gently undulating topography, with charnockites and khondalites forming hillocks within low-lying areas comprising quartzofeldspathic gneisses (QFG). Petrographic, XRD and spectroscopic studies reveal that QFGs and charnockites show minimal clay mineral formation, indicating their resistance to chemical weathering. In contrast, khondalites weather progressively to form a variety of clay minerals, the proportion of which increases with elevation, ultimately stabilizing bauxite on hilltops. Geochemical modelling indicates that this weathering pattern in khondalites can develop under open system conditions prevailing on hill tops and slopes, as rainwater is not retained within the system. This implies that the khondalite hills existed before bauxite formation. Since khondalite hills occur within more resistant but low-lying QFG, the present granulite terrain topography was not shaped by chemical weathering. Rather, mechanical weathering or neo-tectonic activity may be responsible for topography formation in stable granulite terrains.
Volume 130, 2021
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