Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science
Volume 114 Issue 3 June 2005 pp 303-323
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.