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      Volume 115, Issue 1

      February 2006,   pages  1-183

    • Preface

      Jyotiranjan S Ray C Chakraborty

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    • Proterozoic intracontinental basin: The Vindhyan example

      Chandan Chakraborty

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      The features of the Vindhyan succession clearly indicate a vast intracratonic basin that remained within tens of meters of sea level throughout its lifetime. Apparently, shallow water condition was maintained over a large area for a long period of time suggesting that the sub-Vindhyan lithosphere suffered subsidence over a larger area producing a wide shallow ramp type basin. Hundreds of meters thick accumulation of peritidal strata in sequence 5 of the Vindhyan succession indicates that the subsidence rate was in perfect concert with the rate of sediment supply for a considerably long period of time during the end phase of Vindhyan basin evolution — the hallmark of cratonic basins Sloss (1988a, b). It is inferred that during the terminal period of the Vindhyan sedimentation a self-regulating system of uplift, erosion, sedimentation and subsidence controlled the accumulation of strata.

    • Outcrop signatures of relative sea level fall on a siliciclastic shelf: Examples from the Rewa Group of Proterozoic Vindhyan basin

      Partha Pratim Chakraborty

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      The Rewa Group of the Vindhyan Supergroup in the Son valley begins with a thick (∼200m) dominantly shaly, shelfal succession, occurring between the Dhandraul Formation of the Kaimur Group (fluvial sandstone) below and Drammondganj Formation of the Rewa Group (marginal marine sandstone) above. Such a stratigraphic disposition indicates a sharp rise in relative sea level at the onset of Rewa sedimentation, inducing a shelfal depth to the Vindhyan basin. However, a number of wedge-shaped, sandstone/conglomerate bodies (maximum thickness 23.5 m) occur at multiple stratigraphic levels within the aforesaid deeper water shale succession, which appear to be of much shallow water origin representing regressive deposits. Though these bodies do not define a single physically continuous unit, either vertically or laterally, they are still designated by a single term ‘Asan Sandstone’ in the literature. On the other hand, the encasing shelfal shales are termed as Panna and Jhiri Shales, in accordance with their occurrence below or above the so-called ‘Asan Sandstone’. The present study reveals that in different sections spread over the Son valley, there are several discrete regressive wedges occurring vertically, and their depositional environment is also variable, ranging between braided fluvial, shoreface fan and braid delta. The features common to most of the regressive coarser clastic bodies are:

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    • Stratigraphy, sedimentology and bulk organic geochemistry of black shales from the Proterozoic Vindhyan Supergroup (central India)

      S Banerjee S Dutta S Paikaray U Mann

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      Four organic-rich shale units of the Proterozoic Vindhyan sedimentary succession have been scanned to reveal their origin and hydrocarbon potential. The wavy-crinkly nature of the carbonaceous laminae is suggestive of a microbial mat origin of the shales. These shales are thus different from Phanerozoic black shales which typically exhibit planar laminae. The hydrocarbon potential of the black shale units has been evaluated by Rock-Eval pyrolysis. Total organic carbon content of many of the shales exceeds 1%. The meanTmax for the black shales translate to a vitrinite reflectance range of 2.05-2.40% Rm based on standard conversion techniques. These shales have reached the catagenetic stage near the beginning of anthracite formation.

    • Microbial mat-induced sedimentary structures in siliciclastic sediments: Examples from the 1.6 Ga Chorhat Sandstone, Vindhyan Supergroup, M.P., India

      Subir Sarkar Santanu Banerjee Pradip Samanta Silambuchelvan Jeevankumar

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      This paper addresses macroscopic signatures of microbial mat-related structures within the 1.6Ga-old Chorhat Sandstone of the Semri Group — the basal stratigraphic unit of the Vindhyan succession in Son valley. The Chorhat Sandstone broadly represents a prograding succession of three depositional facies ranging from shallow shelf to coastal margin with aeolian sandsheet. The mat-mediated structures were generated because of plastic or brittle deformation of sand, turned cohesive and even thixotropic because of microbial mat growth. Mat growth also favoured abundant preservation of structures that usually have low preservation potential. Prolific growth of microbial mat in the subtidal to intertidal zone of the Chorhat sea was facilitated due to lack of grazing and burrowing activities of organisms in the Precambrian. It further indicates low rate of sedimentation between the storms, as also attested by frequent superposition of storm-beds, even near the storm wave base. It also reduces erosion and that, in turn, would imply low sediment concentration in flows leading to development of bedforms that are likely to be smaller in size and isolated from each other in a single train in contrast to those that form in mat-free sands.

    • Petrographic observations suggestive of microbial mats from Rampur Shale and Bijaigarh Shale, Vindhyan basin, India

      S Sur J Schieber S Banerjee

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      Petrographic observations of two Vindhyan black shales (Rampur Shale of the Semri Group and Bijaigarh Shale of the Kaimur Group) revealed the following features:

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      These features are indirect evidence of microbial mat colonization during the Proterozoic. The microbial mats probably fixed carbon at the sediment surface, stabilized sediment and recycled organic matter and were the primary producers, unlike during the Phanerozoic time.

    • Palaeobiology of Mesoproterozoic Salkhan Limestone, Semri Group, Rohtas, Bihar, India: Systematics and significance

      Mukund Sharma

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      Mesoproterozoic (∼ 1600 Ma old) Salkhan Limestone (Semri Group) of the Vindhyan Supergroup, exposed in Rohtas district of Bihar, India, preserves an abundant and varied ancient microbial assemblage. These microfossils are recorded in three distinctly occurring cherts viz., bedded chert, stromatolitic chert and cherty stromatolites. 27 morphoforms belonging to 14 genera and 21 species have been recognized. Six unnamed forms are also described.

      The microbial assemblage, almost exclusively composed of the remnants of cyanobacteria, is dominated by entophysalidacean members and short trichomes and can be termed as ‘typical Mesoproterozoic microbiotas’. The assemblage includes characteristic mat-forming scytonematacean and entophysalidacean cyanobacteria.Eoentophysalis is the dominant organism in the assemblage. Ellipsoidal akinetes of nostocalean cyanobacteria(Archaeollipsoides) and spherical unicells also occur; both are distinct from mat forming assemblage, allochthonous and possibly planktic. Co-occurrence of the microbiotas and precipitates is related to the depositional environment of the Mesoproterozoic tidal flats with high carbonate saturation.

    • Chuaria circularis from the early Mesoproterozoic Suket Shale, Vindhyan Supergroup, India: Insights from light and electron microscopy and pyrolysis-gas chromatography

      Suryendu Dutta Michael Steiner Santanu Banerjee Bernd-Dietrich Erdtmann Silambuchelvan Jeevankumar Ulrich Mann

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      Chuaria circularis (Walcott 1899) from the Suket Shale of the Vindhyan Supergroup (central India) has been reinvestigated for its morphology and chemical composition using biostatistics, electron microscopy and pyrolysis-gas chromatography. Morphology and microscopic investigations provide little clues on the specific biological affinity ofChuaria as numerous preservational artifacts seem to be incorporated. On the contrary, the predominance of η aliphatic pyrolysates of presently studiedChuaria from India rather supports an algal affinity. Moreover, the reflectance ofC circularis can be used to obtain a comparative maturity parameter of the Precambrian sediments. The review of the age and geographical distribution ofC circularis constrains that this species cannot be considered as an index fossil for the Proterozoic time.

    • Carbon and oxygen isotope compositions of the carbonate facies in the Vindhyan Supergroup, central India

      S Banerjee S K Bhattacharya S Sarkar

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      The Vindhyan sedimentary succession in central India spans a wide time bracket from the Paleoproterozoic to the Neoproterozoic period. Chronostratigraphic significance of stable carbon and oxygen isotope ratios of the carbonate phase in Vindhyan sediments has been discussed in some recent studies. However, the subtle controls of facies variation, depositional setting and post-depositional diagenesis on stable isotope compositions are not yet clearly understood. The Vindhyan Supergroup hosts four carbonate units, exhibiting a wide variability in depositional processes and paleogeography. A detailed facies-specific carbon and oxygen isotope study of the carbonate units was undertaken by us to investigate the effect of these processes and to identify the least altered isotope values. It is seen that both carbon and oxygen isotope compositions have been affected by early meteoric water diagenesis. The effect of diagenetic alteration is, however, more pronounced in case of oxygen isotopes than carbon isotopes. Stable isotope compositions remained insensitive to facies only when sediments accumulated in a shallow shelf setting without being exposed. Major alteration of original isotope ratios was observed in case of shallow marine carbonates, which became exposed to meteoric fluids during early diagenetic stage. Duration of exposure possibly determined the magnitude of alteration and shift from the original values. Moreover, dolomitization is found to be accompanied by appreciable alteration of isotope compositions in some of the carbonates. The present study suggests that variations in sediment depositional settings, in particular the possibility of subaerial exposure, need to be considered while extracting chronostratigraphic significance from δ13C data.

    • Deep seismic reflection study over the Vindhyans of Rajasthan: Implications for geophysical setting of the basin

      B Rajendra Prasad V Vijaya Rao

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      This paper presents results of high-resolution deep seismic reflection profiling of the Proterozoic Vindhyan basin of the Rajasthan area along the Chandli-Bundi-Kota-Kunjer profile. Seismic images have been used to estimate the thickness of Vindhyan strata as well as to understand the tectonic framework of the basin. The results are constrained by gravity, magnetic and magnetotelluric data. The study reveals gentle SE-dipping reflection bands representing the Vindhyan strata. The seismic sections depict gradual thickening of the Vindhyan succession towards southeast from Bundi. The velocities of the upper and lower Vindhyans are identified as 4.6-4.8 km/s and 5.1-5.3 km/s. The NW limit of the Vindhyan basin is demarcated by the Great Boundary Fault (GBF) that manifests as a 30 km wide NW dipping thrust fault extending to a depth of 30 km.

    • Age of the Vindhyan Supergroup: A review of recent findings

      Jyotiranjan S Ray

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      The Vindhyan Supergroup of India is one of the largest and thickest sedimentary successions of the world. Deposited in an intra-cratonic basin, it is composed mostly of shallow marine deposits. It is believed to have recorded a substantial portion of Proterozoic time and therefore, likely to contain valuable information on the evolution of the atmosphere, climate, and life on our planet. It also contains some of the most disputed fossils of earliest animal life. Despite their importance, the absolute age of these rocks had remained unknown until recently. In this work I evaluate all the recent chronological information and discuss their implications. From the present findings it appears that the issues surrounding the age of the Lower Vindhyans in the Son valley are now resolved, whereas problems with the age of the Upper Vindhyans and that with the stratigraphic correlations remain to be answered.

    • Mesoproterozoic diamondiferous ultramafic pipes at Majhgawan and Hinota, Panna area, central India: Key to the nature of sub-continental lithospheric mantle beneath the Vindhyan basin

      N V Chalapathi Rao

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      Amongst all the perceptible igneous manifestations (volcanic tuffs and agglomerates, minor rhyolitic flows and andesites, dolerite dykes and sills near the basin margins, etc.) in the Vindhyan basin, the two Mesoproterozoic diamondiferous ultramafic pipes intruding the Kaimur Group of sediments at Majhgawan and Hinota in the Panna area are not only the most conspicuous but also well-known and have relatively deeper mantle origin. Hence, these pipes constitute the only yet available ‘direct’ mantle samples from this region and their petrology, geochemistry and isotope systematics are of profound significance in understanding the nature of the sub-continental lithospheric mantle beneath the Vindhyan basin. Their emplacement age (∼ 1100 Ma) also constitutes the only reliable minimum age constrain on the Lower Vindhyan Group of rocks. The Majhgawan and Hinota pipes share the petrological, geochemical and isotope characteristics of kimberlite, orangeite (Group II kimberlite) and lamproite and hence are recognised as belonging to a ‘transitional kimberlite-orangeite-lamproite’ rock type. The namemajhagwanite has been proposed by this author to distinguish them from other primary diamond source rocks. The parent magma of the Majhgawan and Hinota pipes is envisaged to have been derived by very small (<1%) degrees of partial melting of a phlogopite-garnet lherzolite source (rich in titanium and barium) that has been previously subjected to an episode of initial depletion (extensive melting during continent formation) and subsequent metasomatism (enrichment). There is absence of any subduction-related characteristics, such as large negative anomalies at Ta and Nb, and therefore, the source enrichment (metasomatism) of both these pipes is attributed to the volatile- and K-rich, extremely low-viscosity melts that leak continuously to semi-continuously from the asthenosphere and accumulate in the overlying lithosphere. Lithospheric/crustal extension, rather than decompression melting induced by a mantle plume, is favoured as the cause of melting of the source regions of Majhgawan and Hinota pipes. This paper is a review of the critical evaluation of the published work on these pipes based on contemporary knowledge derived from similar occurrences elsewhere.

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