• George Mathew

      Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

    • Electron spin resonance dating of fault gouge from Desamangalam, Kerala: Evidence for Quaternary movement in Palghat gap shear zone

      T K Gundu Rao C P Rajendran George Mathew Biju John

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      The field investigations in the epicentral area of the 1994 Wadakkancheri (Desamangalam), Kerala, earthquake (M 4.3) indicate subtle, but clearly recognizable expressions of geologically recent fault zone, consisting of fracture sets showing brittle displacement and a gouge zone. The fracture zone confines to the crystalline basement, and is spatially coincident with the elongation of the isoseismals of the 1994 mainshock and a 10-km-long WNW-ESE trending topographic lineament. The preliminary results from the electron spin resonance (ESR) dating on the quartz grains from the fault gouge indicate that the last major faulting in this site occurred 430 ± 43 ka ago. The experiments on different grain sizes of quartz from the gouge showed consistent decrease in age to a plateau of low values, indicating that ESR signals in finer grains were completely zeroed at the time of faulting due to frictional heat. The results show a relatively young age for displacement on the fault that occurs within a Precambrian shear zone. Discrete reactivated faults in such areas may be characterized by low degree of activity, but considering the ESR age of the last significant faulting event, the structure at Desamangalam may be categorized as a potentially active fault capable of generating moderate earthquakes, separated by very long periods of quiescence.

    • Cones and craters on Mount Pavagadh, Deccan Traps: Rootless cones?

      Hetu C Sheth George Mathew Kanchan Pande Soumen Mallick Balaram Jena

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      Rootless cones, also (erroneously) called pseudocraters, form due to explosions that ensue when a lava flow enters a surface water body, ice, or wet ground. They do not represent primary vents connected by vertical conduits to a subsurface magma source. Rootless cones in Iceland are well studied. Cones on Mars, morphologically very similar to Icelandic rootless cones, have also been suggested to be rootless cones formed by explosive interaction between surface lava flows and ground ice. We report here a group of gentle cones containing nearly circular craters from Mount Pavagadh, Deccan volcanic province, and suggest that they are rootless cones. They are very similar morphologically to the rootless cones of the type locality of Mývatn in northeastern Iceland. A group of three phreatomagmatic craters was reported in 1998 from near Jabalpur in the northeastern Deccan, and these were suggested to be eroded cinder cones. A recent geophysical study of the Jabalpur craters does not support the possibility that they are located over volcanic vents. They could also be rootless cones. Many more probably exist in the Deccan, and volcanological studies of the Deccan are clearly of value in understanding planetary basaltic volcanism.

    • Evidence of paleoearthquakes from trench investigations across Pinjore Garden fault in Pinjore Dun, NW Himalaya

      Javed N Malik George Mathew

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      The Pinjore Garden Fault (PGF) striking NNW-SSE is now considered one of the active faults displacing the younger Quaternary surfaces in the piggyback basin of Pinjore Dun. This has displaced the older Kalka and Pinjore surfaces, along with the other younger surfaces giving rise to WSW and SW-facing fault scarps with heights ranging from 2 to 16 m. The PGF represents a younger branch of the Main Boundary Thrust (MBT) system. An ~ 4m wide trench excavated across the PGF has revealed displacement of younger Quaternary deposits along a low angle thrust fault. Either side of the trench-walls reveals contrasting slip-related deformation of lithounits. The northern wall shows displacement of lithounits along a low-angle thrust fault, while the southern wall shows well-developed fault-related folding of thick sand unit. The sudden change in the deformational features on the southern wall is an evidence of the changing fault geometry within a short distance. Out of five prominent lithounits identified in the trench, the lower four units show displacement along a single fault. The basal unit ‘A’ shows maximum displacement of aboutTo = 2.85 m, unit B = 1.8 m and unit C = 1.45 m. The displacement measured between the sedimentary units and retro-deformation of trench log suggests that at least two earthquake events have occurred along the PGF. The units A and D mark the event horizons. Considering the average amount of displacement during one single event (2 m) and the minimum length of the fault trace (~ 45 km), the behaviour of PGF seems similar to that of the Himalayan Frontal Fault (HFF) and appears capable of producing large magnitude earthquakes.

    • Laboratory technique for quantitative thermal emissivity measurements of geological samples

      George Mathew Archana Nair T K Gundu Rao Kanchan Pande

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      Thermal infrared spectroscopy is a powerful technique for the compositional analysis of geological materials. The spectral feature in the mid-IR region is diagnostic of the mineralogy and spectral signatures of mixtures of minerals that add linearly, and therefore, can be used as an important tool to determine the mineralogy of rocks in the laboratory and remotely for planetary exploration. The greatest challenge in the emission measurement lies in the measurement of the weak thermal photons emitted from geological materials in a laboratory setup, and accurately records the temperature of the rock sample. The present work pertains to the details of a new Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) laboratory that has been developed under the ISRO Planetary Science and Exploration (PLANEX) programme, for emission related mineralogical investigations of planetary surfaces. The focus of the paper is on the acquisition and calibration technique for obtaining emissivity, and the deconvolution procedure to obtain the modal abundances of the thermal emission spectra in the range of 6–25 𝜇 m using Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. The basic technique is adopted from the work of Ruff et al (1997). This laboratory at the Department of Earth Sciences, IIT-Bombay is currently developing pure end mineral library of mineral particulates (> 65 𝜇m), and adding new end members to the existing ASU spectral library. The paper argues the need for considering Lunar Orbiter Thermal Emission Spectrometer (LOTES) for future Indian Moon mission programme (Chandrayan-II) to determine evidences of varied lithologies on the lunar surface.

    • Arc parallel extension in Higher and Lesser Himalayas, evidence from western Arunachal Himalaya, India

      Sharmistha De Sarkar George Mathew Kanchan Pande

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      The existence of E–W extensional features from northeast (NE) Himalaya is poorly documented. Our investigation in the western part of Arunachal Himalaya provides evidences of active Quaternary E–W arc-parallel extensional features in the Higher and Lesser Himalayas. They are represented by arcperpendicular normal faults and arc-parallel sinistral strike-slip faults. We discuss the occurrences of these arc-parallel extensional features in terms of oblique convergence and radial expansion models. The partitioning of stress due to oblique convergence is argued based on evidences of left-lateral slip in NEHimalaya, right-lateral slip in NW-Himalaya and absence of translation in the central part. The amount of arc-parallel extension in the hinterland regions is correlated to the amount of radial shortening in the foreland. The computation of arc-parallel extension in the NE Himalayan arc is carried out by defining a small-circle centered at 88° 39′ \pm 0.7′E longitude and 33° 40′ \pm 0.6′N latitude having a radius of 770.7 ± 15.1 km, for the segment between 92° 01′ and 95° 16′E longitudes. The amount of arc-parallel extension estimated is ∼110 km for the NE Himalayan segment. Our result agrees closely with the 104 km extension determined based on geodetically computed extension rate and age of initiation of rifting in southern Tibet.

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