• E V S S K Babu

      Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

    • Origin of Cretaceous phosphorites from the onshore of Tamil Nadu, India

      V Purnachandra Rao Pratima M Kessarkar R Nagendra E V S S K Babu

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      Cretaceous phosphorites from the onshore of Tamil Nadu have been investigated for their origin and compared with those in the offshore. Cretaceous phosphorites occur as light brown to yellowish brown or white nodules in Karai Shale of the Uttatur Group in the onshore Cauvery basin. Nodules exhibit phosphatic nucleus encrusted by a chalky shell of carbonate. The nucleus of the nodules consists of light and dark coloured laminae, phosphate peloids/coated grains and detrital particles interspersed between the laminae. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) studies reveal trapping and binding activity of microbial filaments. A mat structure with linearly arranged microbial filaments and hollow, cell-based coccoid cyanobacterial mat are present. Nodules contain abundant carbonate fluorapatite, followed by minor calcite, quartz and feldspar. The P2O5 content of the phosphorites ranges from 18 to 26%. The CaO/P2O5, Sr and F contents are higher than that of pure carbonate fluorapatite. Concentrations of Si, Al, K, Fe, and Ti are low. We suggest that the nuclei of the nodules represent phosphate clasts related to phosphate stromatolites formed at intertidal conditions. At high energy levels the microbial mats were disintegrated into phosphate clasts, coated with carbonate and then reworked into Karai Shale. On the other hand, Quaternary phosphorites occur as irregular to rounded, grey coloured phosphate clasts at water depths between 180 and 320m on the continental shelf of Tamil Nadu. They exhibit grain-supported texture. Despite Quaternary in age, they also resemble phosphate stromatolites of intertidal origin and reworked as phosphate clasts onto the shelf margin depressions. Benthic microbial mats probably supplied high phosphorus to the sediments. Availability of excess phosphorus seems to be a pre-requisite for the formation of phosphate stromatolites.

    • Correlation of the oldest Toba Tuff to sediments in the central Indian Ocean Basin

      J N Pattan M Shyam Prasad E V S S K Babu

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      We have identified an ash layer in association with Australasian microtektites of ∼0.77Ma old in two sediment cores which are ∼450 km apart in the central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB). Morphology and chemical composition of glass shards and associated microtektites have been used to trace their provenance. In ODP site 758 from Ninetyeast Ridge, ash layer-D (13 cm thick, 0.73–0.75 Ma) and layer-E (5 cm thick, 0.77–0.78 Ma) were previously correlated to the oldest Toba Tuff (OTT) eruptions of the Toba caldera, Sumatra. In this investigation, we found tephra ∼3100 km to the southwest of Toba caldera that is chemically identical to layer D of ODP site 758 and ash in the South China Sea correlated to the OTT. Layer E is not present in the CIOB or other ocean basins. The occurrence of tephra correlating to layer D suggests a widespread distribution of OTT tephra (∼3.6 × 107 km2), an ash volume of at least ∼1800 km3, a total OTT volume of 2300 km3, and classification of the OTT eruption as a super-eruption.

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