Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

    • Geology of the Elephanta Island fault zone, western Indian rifted margin, and its significance for understanding the Panvel flexure

      Hrishikesh Samant Ashwin Pundalik Joseph D’souza Hetu Sheth Keegan Carmo Lobo Kyle D’souza Vanit Patel

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      The Panvel flexure is a 150-km long tectonic structure, comprising prominently seaward-dipping Deccan flood basalts, on the western Indian rifted margin. Given the active tectonic faulting beneath the Panvel flexure zone inferred from microseismicity, better structural understanding of the region is needed. The geology of Elephanta Island in the Mumbai harbour, famous for the ca. mid-6th century A.D. Hindu rock-cut caves in Deccan basalt (a UNESCO World Heritage site) is poorly known. We describe a previously unreported but well-exposed fault zone on Elephanta Island, consisting of two large faults dippingsteeply east–southeast and producing easterly downthrows. Well-developed slickensides and structural measurements indicate oblique slip on both faults. The Elephanta Island fault zone may be the northern extension of the Alibag–Uran fault zone previously described. This and two other known regional faults (Nhava–Sheva and Belpada faults) indicate a progressively eastward step-faulted structure of the Panvel flexure, with the important result that the individual movements were not simply downdip but also oblique-slip and locally even rotational (as at Uran). An interesting problem is the normal faulting, block tectonics and rifting of this region of the crust for which seismological data indicate a normal thickness (up to 41.3 km). A model of asymmetric rifting by simple shear may explain this observation and the consistently landward dips of the rifted margin faults.

    • Diverse late-stage ($\leq$ 62.5 Ma) Deccan volcanism and plutonism in the Thane–Vasai region, Panvel flexure zone, western Indian rifted margin


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      The western Indian volcanic rifted margin, and its large-scale tectonic feature called the Panvel flexure, formed at 62.5 Ma during the late stages of Deccan Traps flood volcanism. We present a geological account of late-stage ($\leq$ 62.5 Ma) Deccan volcanism and plutonism in the relatively poorly studied Thane–Vasai region in the Panvel flexure zone. The study area shows west-dipping basaltic sequences up to hundreds of meters thick, overlain by pyroclastic deposits of various types. The volcanic units are intruded by gabbro plutons, and all these units are in turn intruded by dykes of varied compositions (including tholeiitic basalt, lamprophyre, and granophyre). There are also early tholeiitic dykes, some of which may be feeders to the basaltic sequence. We focus on the gabbro intrusions and provide extensive petrographic and mineral chemical data on them. The gabbros are tholeiitic, and of considerable interest in commonly containing interstitial silicic melts (granophyre or silicic glass). One of the intrusions, the Chena pluton, shows clear outcrop transitions from gabbro, and gabbro with interstitial granophyre, to transitional gabbro-granophyre, and then to a distinct upper zone of granophyre and microgranite. Granophyre is common in mafic intrusions in continental flood basalt provinces of the world (e.g., the Palisades Sill and the Skaergaard Intrusion), where its genesis is ascribed to mechanisms such as fractional crystallisation, liquid immiscibility, or crustal melting, typically based on geochemical data. The Chena gabbro outcrops are valuable in providing direct evidence for a fractional crystallisation origin of the granophyres (and silicic glasses) found in the Thane–Vasai gabbro intrusions, with which the mineral chemical compositions are also consistent.

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