• Volume 114, Issue 3

      June 2005,   pages  191-380

    • Preface

      S K Tandon Asru K Chaudhuri

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    • Tribute to an adventurous Indian sedimentologist: Sukomol Kumar Chanda (1932–1998)

      Asru K Chaudhuri

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    • Climbing ripple structure and associated storm-lamination from a Proterozoic carbonate platform succession: Their environmental and petrogenetic significance

      Asru K Chaudhuri

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      The Mesoproterozoic Pandikunta Limestone, a shallow water carbonate platform succession in the Pranhita-Godavari Valley, south India, displays well developed climbing ripple lamination and storm deposited structures, such as HCS, wave ripple-lamination, combined-flow ripple-lamination and low angle trough cross-stratification. Different types of stratification developed in calcisiltite with minor amounts of very fine quartz sand and silt. The climbing ripple structures exhibit a complex pattern of superposition of different types (type A, B and S) within cosets pointing to a fluctuating rate of suspension depositionversus bedform migration, and an unsteady character of the flow. Close association of climbing ripple structures, HCS with anisotropic geometry, wavy lamination and combined-flow ripple-lamination suggest that the structures were formed by storm generated combined-flow in a mid-shelf area above the storm wave base. The combined-flow that deposited the climbing ripple structures had a strong unidirectional flow component of variable magnitude. The climbing ripple structure occurs as a constituent of graded stratified beds with an ordered vertical sequence of different types of lamination, reflecting flow deceleration and increased rate of suspension deposition. It is inferred that the beds were deposited from high-density waning flows in the relatively deeper part of the ancient shelf. The structures indicate that the Pandikunta platform was subjected to open marine circulation and intense storm activities.

      The storm deposited beds, intercalated with beds of lime-mudstone, consist primarily of fine sand and silt size carbonate particles that were hydrodynamically similar to quartz silt. Detrital carbonate particles are structureless and are of variable roundness. The particles were generated as primary carbonate clasts in coastal areas by mechanical disintegration of rapidly lithified beds, stromatolites or laminites, and the finest grade was transported to the offshore areas by storm-generated currents.

    • Tidal shelf sedimentation in the Neoproterozoic Chattisgarh succession of central India

      Sarbani Patranabis Deb

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      The Neoproterozoic Kansapathar Sandstone of the Chattisgarh basin, a shallow marine shelf bar sequence, consists of mineralogically and texturally mature sandstones with subordinate siltstones, mudstones and conglomerates. The sediments were transported, reworked and deposited in subtidal environments by strong tidal currents of macrotidal regime as well as storms, and accumulated as discrete shoaling-upward features, separated from each other by muddy to low-energy sandy deposits. The sandbodies developed into shoaling up linear bars, often more than a kilometre in length, through accretion of thick cross-stratified units in transverse directions under the influence of ebb and flood tidal currents, as well as in longitudinal direction affected by southeasterly flowing along-shore currents. The aggrading upper surfaces of the bars experienced protracted reworking by strong oscillatory wave currents leading to extensive development of subaqueous 2D or 3D dunes mantled with lag pebble deposits at different points. With continued shoaling and progradation, the bars amalgamated into large sandstone sheets with the development of high energy beach deposits and coastal sand flats in the uppermost part of the sequence. The presence of rill marks, flat-topped ripples, wrinkle marks, desiccation cracks and adhesion warts point to intertidal conditions with intermittent exposure. The high energy sandstone bars overlie a thick mudstone-dominated shelf sequence across a sharp interface indicating rapid change in the sea-level, provenance, rate of sediment generation and sediment input, and circulation condition in the shelf. A quiet muddy shelf was replaced by a major sand-depositing environment with strong, open marine circulation. An interplay of tidal currents, oscillatory wave currents and storm currents generated a complex flow pattern that varied in time and space from bimodal-bipolar to strongly unimodal flows.

      Close parallelism of wave ripple crests, trend of linear bars and unidirectional flows suggest that the elongate bars were parallel to sub-parallel to the coastline, and were strongly influenced by along shore drift. The inferred coastline was broadly N-S. The large-scale structures in the bar sandstones, emplacement of vast amount of sand and migration of large bedforms under strong macrotidal currents collectively indicate that the Kansapathar shelf was intimately connected with an open ocean basin towards north-northwest.

    • Provenance, tectonics and palaeoclimate of Proterozoic Chandarpur sandstones, Chattisgarh basin: A petrographic view

      Basudeb Datta

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      Sandstones of early Neoproterozoic Chandarpur Group, Chattisgarh Supergroup, central India display progressive change towards greater textural and mineralogical maturity from base to top of the succession. The clay-silt matrix decreases, sorting of sand grains improves, frequency of rounded grains increases, monocrystalline quartz content increases with concomitant decrease in polycrystalline quartz, feldspar and rock fragments. The trend of variations in different mineralogical and textural attributes, however, exhibits inflections at different stratigraphic levels. The sandstones of the basal Lohardih Formation are alluvial fan deposits, characterized by high matrix and feldspar content, iron-oxide impregnated highly angular grains and poor sorting. Petrographic properties collectively indicate that the sandstones were derived from a weathered granitic crust under a humid climatic condition. Abundance of well rounded grains within the alluvial fan and overlying braided fluvial deposit indicates prolonged wind action during episodes of high aridity. The shallow marine deposit overlying the fluvial deposits in the upper part of the Lohardih Formation exhibits bed-to-bed variation in the frequency of angular grains, feldspar content and overall maturity suggesting environmentally controlled segregation of sediments. The abrupt appearance of coarse-grained immature sandstones with concomitant reappearance of iron-oxide impregnated/altered feldspar grains in the upper part of the shelf deposits of the Chaporadih Formation point to a phase of tectonic uplift that possibly triggered a regression. Continued regression and peneplanation heralded the deposition of supermature medium-grained purple quartzarenite of the upper shoreface Kansapathar Formation in the uppermost part of the Chandarpur succession under a hot desertic climatic condition. The provenance analysis revealed that the Chandarpur clastics were derived from granites and granite-gneisses of a continental block tectonic provenance. Petrographic studies further indicate that high grade metamorphic rocks did not make any perceptible contribution to the Chandarpur system. The Eastern Ghats Granulite Belt apparently did not emerge till the early Neoproterozoic.

    • Organotemplate structures in sedimentary manganese carbonates of the Neoproterozoic Penganga Group, Adilabad, India

      Joydip Mukhopadhyay Jens Gutzmer Nicolas J Beukes

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      Manganese carbonates interstratified with bedded chert in the Chanda Limestone of the Neoproterozoic Penganga Group at Adilabad, south India, have been studied for possible evidence that microbiota played a role in the mediation of early diagenetic Mn-carbonate formation in Precambrian marine sedimentary successions. The manganese carbonate and chert beds occur within a below wave base, deep-water distally steepened ramp succession. High resolution SEM petrography of the manganese carbonates revealed two basic morphologies-spherical to oval-cylindrical shaped microconcretions, and tubular to irregular, elongated, film-like microstructures. Infolded filmy to hollow tubular strand-like internal morphologies of the spherical to oval-cylindrical shaped microconcretions suggest their microbial affinity. The tubular and film morphologies with mesh-like interconnections closely resemble architectures of microbial extracellular polymeric substance (EPS). Mineralization took place on these organotemplates by the process of permineralization as well as replacement in an early diagenetic pore-water environment with reduction of higher manganese oxy-hydroxides by organic matter and consequent increase in dissolved carbonate.

    • Pull-apart origin of the Satpura Gondwana basin, central India

      Chandan Chakraborty Sanjoy Kumar Ghosh

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      The Gondwana basins of peninsular India are traditionally considered as extensional-rift basins due to the overwhelming evidence of fault-controlled synsedimentary subsidence. These basins indeed originated under a bulk extensional tectonic regime, due to failure of the attenuated crust along pre-existing zones of weakness inherited from Precambrian structural fabrics. However, disposition of the basins and their structural architecture indicate that the kinematics of all the basins cannot be extensional. To maintain kinematic compatibility with other basins as well as the bulk lateral extension, some basins ought to be of strike-slip origin. The disposition, shape and structural architecture of the Satpura basin, central India suggest that the basin could be a pull-apart basin that developed above a releasing jog of a left-stepping strike-slip fault system defined by the Son-Narmada south fault and Tapti north fault in consequence to sinistral displacement along WSW-ENE. Development of a sedimentary basin under the above-mentioned kinematic condition was simulated in model experiments with sandpack. The shape, relative size, stratigraphic and structural architecture of the experimental basin tally with that of the Satpura basin. The experimental results also provide insights into the tectono-sedimentary evolution of the Satpura basin in particular and pull-apart basins in general.

    • Significance of transition between Talchir Formation and Karharbari Formation in Lower Gondwana basin evolution — A study in West Bokaro Coal basin, Jharkhand, India

      H N Bhattacharya Abhijit Chakraborty Biplab Bhattacharya

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      Basal part of the Gondwana Supergroup represented by Talchir and Karharbari Formations (Permo-Carboniferous) records an abrupt change-over from glacio-marine to terrestrial fluviolacustrine depositional environment. The contact between the two is an unconformity. Facies analysis of the glacio-marine Talchir Formation reveals that basal glaciogenic and reworked glaciogenic sediments are buried under storm influenced inner and outer shelf sediments. Facies associations of the Karharbari Formation suggest deposition as fluvio-lacustrine deposits in fault-controlled troughs. An attempt has been made in this paper to explain the sedimentation pattern in Talchir and Karharbari basins, and the abrupt change-over from glacio-marine to terrestrial fluviolacustrine depositional environment in terms of glacio-isostacy.

    • Facies pattern of the middle Permian Barren Measures Formation, Jharia basin, India: The sedimentary response to basin tectonics

      Prabir Dasgupta

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      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.

    • Evidence of lacustrine sedimentation in the Upper Permian Bijori Formation, Satpura Gondwana basin: Palaeogeographic and tectonic implications

      Tapan Chakraborty Soumen Sarkar

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      The Upper Permian Bijori Formation of the Satpura Gondwana basin comprising fineto coarse-grained sandstone, carbonaceous shale/mudstone and thin coal bands was previously interpreted as the deposits of meandering rivers. The present study documents abundance of wave ripples, hummocky and swaley cross-stratification and combined flow bedforms in the Bijori Formation, suggesting that a significant part of the formation was deposited in a wave-agitated environment. Evidence of near-emergent depositional conditions provided by repeated occurrence of rootlet beds and hydromorphic paleosols, local flooding surfaces denoting rapid fluctuation of water level, occurrences of temnospondyl vertebrate fossils, and absence of tidal signatures and marine fossils suggest a lacustrine rather than marine depositional regime. Five facies associations recognised within the Bijori Formation are inferred to represent fluvial channels and associated floodplains (FA1), lake shorelines (FA2), subaqueous distributary channels and associated levees (FA3), waveand storm-affected delta front (FA4), and open lacustrine/lower shoreface (FA5) deposits. The planoconcave fluvial channel-fill sandbodies with unidirectional cross-beds are clearly distinguishable from the delta front bars that show a convexo-plan or bi-convex sandbody geometry and dominance of wave and combined flow bedforms. Some of the distributary channels record interaction of fluvial and wave-dominated basinal processes. Major distributary sandbodies show a north to northwest flow direction while wave-affected delta front sandbodies show very complex flow patterns reflecting interaction between fluvial discharge and wave processes. Wave ripple crest trends show that the lake shoreline had an overall east-northeast to west-southwest orientation. The lack of documented contemporaneous lacustrine or marine sediments in the Satpura Gondwana basin posed a major problem of basin-scale palaeogeographic reconstruction. The existence of Bijori lake solves the problem and the lake is inferred to have acted as repository for the contemporaneous alluvial drainage. Development of the large Bijori lake body implies generation of accommodation space exceeding the rate of sediment supplied and thus represents locus of high tectonic subsidence. Transition of fluvial sediments with red mudstone and calcareous soil profile in the lower part of the succession to carbonaceous shale and coal-bearing lacustrine sediments in the upper part, denote a change from a warm semi-arid climate with seasonal rainfall to a more humid one.

    • Depositional setting and vertebrate biostratigraphy of the Triassic Dockum Group of Texas

      Thomas Lehman Sankar Chatterjee

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      Triassic strata of the Dockum Group in Texas comprise two major upward-fining alluvial-lacustrine depositional sequences. The two sequences are represented by the (1) Santa Rosa-Tecovas, and (2) Trujillo-Cooper Canyon Formations. The second sequence is much thicker than the first, and occupies a greater geographic part of the Dockum basin. Each sequence of alluvial and lacustrine sediment accumulation is characterized by sediment derivation from a different source terrain. The unconformable relationship between the two depositional sequences, the change in mineralogical composition and presumed source areas between these units, differences in paleocurrent orientation between units, and evidence for intervening episodes of local deformation indicate that the sequences are of tectonic origin. These strata are not the product of a single sediment dispersal system, such as the centripetally-drained lacustrine delta complex previously envisioned for the Dockum basin. Both Dockum sequences are comprised largely of two typical alluvial facies associations; stream channel facies, and overbank flood-plain facies, that are similar to those described in nearly all fluvial deposits. In addition, the Dockum Group contains a peculiar lacustrine facies that accumulated in local flood-plain depressions, and probably resulted from subsidence over areas of subsurface salt dissolution. Vertebrate fossil assemblages are found in all three Dockum facies associations. Five fossiliferous sites in the Dockum are discussed in the context of these three depositional settings. The Dockum tetrapod diversity is reviewed in a hierarchical phylogeny with remarks on the history of collection, stratigraphic distribution of genera, and their taxonomic status. The stratigraphic ranges of tetrapod taxa do not support the recently proposed successive Otischalkian, Adamanian, Revueltian, and Apachean biochrons within the Dockum Group. Instead, a few index fossils provide a broad framework for correlation of Late Triassic nonmarine strata of the Dockum with the Carnian and Norian Alpine marine stages.

    • Sedimentary structures of tidal flats: A journey from coast to inner estuarine region of eastern India

      A Chakrabarti

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      Sedimentary structures of some coastal tropical tidal flats of the east coast of India, and inner estuarine tidal point bars located at 30 to 50 kilometers inland from the coast, have been extensively studied under varying seasonal conditions. The results reveal that physical features such as flaser bedding, herringbone cross-bedding, lenticular bedding, and mud/silt couplets are common to both the environments. In fact, flaser bedding and lenticular bedding are more common in the point bar facies during the monsoon months than in the coastal tidal flat environments. Interference ripples, though common in both the environments, show different architectural patterns for different environmental domains. Interference ripples with thread-like secondary set overriding the earlier ripple-form, resembling wrinkle marks, are the typical features in estuarine point bars near the high water region. Because structures which are so far considered as key structures for near-coastal tidal flats are common to both the environments, caution should be exercised for deciphering palaeo-environments, particularly for Proterozoic rocks, where one has to depend only on physical sedimentary structures.

    • Nannobacteria and the formation of framboidal pyrite: Textural evidence

      Robert L Folk

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      Study of sedimentary pyrite in the form of framboids, euhedral crystals or metasomatic masses has revealed that their surfaces are commonly covered with spheroids of about 50 nm. This applies to all the examples studied, from modern to Proterozoic. These spheroids are interpreted as the pyritized corpses of nannobacterial cells; if correct, this indicates that precipitation of iron sulfide was performed by these dwarf forms of bacteria, often associated with decaying organic matter.

    • Nanophase Fe0 in lunar soils

      Abhijit Basu

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      Back scattered electron and transmission electron imaging of lunar soil grains reveal an abundance of submicrometer-sized pure Fe0 globules that occur in the rinds of many soil grains and in the submillimeter sized vesicular glass-cemented grains called agglutinates. Grain rinds are amorphous silicates that were deposited on grains exposed at the lunar surface from transient vapors produced by hypervelocity micrometeorite impacts. Fe0 may have dissociated from Fe-compounds in a high temperature (>3000°C) vapor phase and then condensed as globules on grain surfaces. The agglutinitic glass is a quenched product of silicate melts, also produced by micrometeorite impacts on lunar soils. Reduction by solar wind hydrogen in agglutinitic melts may have produced immiscible droplets that solidified as globules. The exact mechanism of formation of such Fe0 globules in lunar soils remains unresolved.

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