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Title: Petrography and geochemistry of sandstone–mudstone from Barakar Formation (early Permian), Raniganj Basin, India: Implications for provenance, weathering and marine depositional conditions during Lower Gondwana sedimentation
Authors: Bhattacharjee J.
Ghosh K.K.
Bhattacharya, Biplab
Published in: Geological Journal
Abstract: Post-glacial Permian coal-bearing sedimentary successions are traditionally interpreted as fluvially deposited within the Gondwanaland continental set-up throughout the globe. Recent attempts to reinterpret such successions in terms of marine flooding events, mainly based on sedimentological and ichnological attributes, raised doubt on the existing palaeogeographic model of the Late Palaeozoic Gondwanaland. Reassessing these sedimentary successions using other proxies, like petrographic and geochemical properties, may provide more reliable clues to improve the present understanding. In this paper, petrographic and geochemical analysis of sandstones, sandstone–mudstone heteroliths, and mudstones of the early Permian Barakar Formation of Lower Gondwana Supergroup, Raniganj coal Basin, India, is presented to understand the provenance, palaeoweathering pattern and palaeodepositional conditions. Petrographically, the sandstones are arkosic to sub-arkosic in nature, with abundant unstable components and heavy minerals. Clay minerals in the matrix and the mudstones are dominated by kaolinite, illite-smectite with authigenic glauconite, indicating a marine diagenetic realm. Mineralogical assemblage attests to sedimentation in craton interior passive margin conditions. Geochemically, the lithounits show large variations in major element and trace element (including rare earth element) concentrations. Chemical index of alteration and A–CN–K ternary plot indicate moderate to strong chemical weathering, leading to deposition of compositionally immature sediments close to their source without much recycling. Ratios of major elements (e.g., MgO, K2O, Fe2O3, Al2O3, and SiO2) signify a continental–marine transitional depositional environment developed in a stable passive margin setting under gradually warming up climatic conditions. Trace element ratios manifest an estuarine depositional setting during Barakar sedimentation, comparable with modern major river mouth estuaries. Thus, this paper provides unequivocal evidence of significant marine influence during sedimentation in the Lower Gondwana basins in India, particularly during the Permian time, and signifies the importance of re-examining the so called “continental fluvial” coal-bearing deposits as considerably marine-influenced. The interpretations provide important clues in understanding and reconstructing the Permian Lower Gondwana palaeogeography in eastern peninsular India. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Citation: Geological Journal (2018), 53(3): 1102-1122
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Keywords: Barakar sedimentary rocks
bulk geochemistry
Permian Gondwana
ISSN: 721050
Author Scopus IDs: 57188666214
Author Affiliations: Bhattacharjee, J., Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, India
Ghosh, K.K., Department of Geology, Jogamaya Devi College, Kolkata, India
Bhattacharya, B., Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, India
Funding Details: Authors acknowledge constructive reviews by both the reviewers. B. Bhattacharya and J. Bhattacharjee are grateful to Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, for financial assistance (as SERB FASTTRACK Research Scheme awarded to B. B.). Authors are thankful to the Director, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), Dehradun, and the scientists in Petrology and Geochemistry Division of WIHG, for necessary permission and carrying out the geochemical analysis. B. B. acknowledges the support received from Dr Sandip Bandyopadhyay and Mr Sudipto Banerjee, Hooghly Mohsin College (West Bengal, India), at various stages of the work.
Corresponding Author: Bhattacharya, B.; Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of TechnologyIndia; email:
Appears in Collections:Journal Publications [ES]

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