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  • 7/27/2019 Strat i Graphy


    0016-7622/2010-76-3-251/$ 1.00 GEOL. SOC. INDIA


    Vol.76, September 2010, pp.251-266

    Stratigraphic Correlation between Different GondwanaBasins of India

    G. MUKHOPADHYAY, S. K. MUKHOPADHYAY, MANAS ROYCHOWDHURY and P. K. PARUIGeological Survey of India, Coal Wing, DK-6, Sector-II, Salt Lake, Kolkata - 700 091

    Email: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

    Abstract. Gondwana Basins of India occur within the suture zones of Precambrian cratonic blocks of Peninsular India

    along some linear belts. More than 99% of the total coal resource of the country is present within these basins. The

    basins are demarcated by boundary faults having graben or half-graben geometry.

    These basins preserve a thick sedimentary pile deposited over nearly 200 million years from latest Carboniferous toLower Cretaceous. However, due to lack of well-constrained data, age of most of the formations is assigned tentatively.

    This has resulted in diversified views on both intra- and inter-basinal stratigraphic correlation particularly in case of

    Upper Gondwana formations.

    It is well recognised that there are distinct spatial and temporal similarities in lithological, faunal and floral distribution

    in different Gondwana Basins of southern continents, including India, that were once part of supercontinent Gondwanaland.

    To address the problems of Indian Gondwana stratigraphy, during the present study, some unique events, also recognised

    in other parts of Gondwanaland, like marine flooding surfaces, large scale tectonic events or major change in depositional

    environment have been used as a tool for temporal correlation within the Gondwana Basins of India. Many of these

    events have been dated from different basins elsewhere. Considering these major events as time planes the total time

    span of deposition in Gondwana Basins has been classified into seven time slots. Recognition of these time planes helps

    in interbasinal correlation of different formations in Indian Gondwana basins and assigning the age, wherever available.

    This approach also helps in better understanding of basinal history. Unless otherwise mentioned, the time scale proposed

    by International Commission on Stratigraphy (2004) has been followed in this paper.

    Keywords: Indian Gondwana Basins, Stratigraphy, Global events, Depositional history.

    Formations of Lower Permian and Raniganj Formation and

    its equivalents of Upper Permian age. Barakar Formation is

    the major storehouse of coal in all the basins having more

    than 90% of total resource of the country. Karharbari and

    Raniganj Formations present only in a few basins.

    Depositional pattern in individual basins shows wide

    variation. The succession is dominated by arenaceous facies

    in majority of the basins and formational contacts are blurreddue to absence of marker bed and close similarity of

    lithocharacter. In many basins only Barakar Formation was

    earlier distinguished separately from the post-Talchir strata,

    that too only because of its coal content, while the overlying

    lithopacks, deposited over unusually long time period, were

    often clubbed under a single name like Pali (in Son Valley),

    Kamthi (in Mahanadi, Wardha, Godavari) etc. Lack of well-

    constrained age data, long range of available plant fossils

    pose serious constraints not only in interbasinal stratigraphic

    correlation but often created varying opinion about the

    stratigraphy of a particular basin. One glaring example is


    Gondwana Basins of India account for nearly 99% of

    coal resource of the country. The basins occur along major

    river valleys either as discrete bodies or are unified by post-

    Permian strata and are named after the Rivers Damodar,

    Son, Mahanadi, Godavari etc or the linear hill ranges like

    Satpura and Rajmahal. Upto five km thick strata, deposited

    over 200 million years, from Upper Carboniferous to LowerCretaceous, are preserved in these basins and are clubbed

    into Gondwana Supergroup. Upper Cretaceous Lameta-

    Bagh beds and Deccan Trap have not been included within

    Gondwana Supergroup since by that time India was

    completely separated from the rest of Gondwanaland and

    moved far towards north. Gondwana Supergroup is sub-

    divided into Permo-carboniferous Lower Gondwana Group,

    characterized by Gangomopteris-Glossopteris flora and

    Mesozoic Upper Gondwana Group containingDicroidium

    Lepidopteris-Ptylophylum flora. The coal seams are found

    only in the lower group within Karharbari and Barakar

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    Upper Kamthi of Godavari Valley. The existing correlation

    scheme of different formations is shown in Table 1.

    This paper addresses the problems by detailed analysis

    of subsurface data and recognising the imprints of certain

    events in different Gondwana basins of India that can be

    correlated with Gondwanide events whose absolute age is

    often available. This helps in assigning the age of various

    formations in different basins more accurately as well as

    understanding the geological history of the Gondwana

    Basins of India.


    The Gondwana Basins of Peninsular India occur along

    four major linear belts namely (1) Trans-Indian basin belt

    that include ENE-WSW trending Satpura and Son Valley

    Basins and E-W to WNW-ESE trending Damodar-Koel

    Valley Basins (2) NNW-SSE trending Wardha-Pranhita-

    Godavari Valley Basin belt, (3) NW-SE trending Mahanadi

    Valley Basin belt that swerves to WNW-ESE direction in

    southernmost Talcher coalfield and (4) NNW-SSE trending

    Purnea-Rajmahal-Galsi basin belt. The Gondwana Basins

    of Bangladesh are often considered to be part of this fourth

    belt with easternmost exposure of Gondwana sediments at

    Singrimari in Meghalaya (Fig.1).

    In addition, in the eastern part of Extra-Peninsular India

    some isolated outcrops of Lower Gondwana Group occur

    as thrusted sheets overriding the Neogene-Quaternary

    sediments extending from Arunachal Pradesh in the east to

    central Nepal in the west. Presence of Gondwana sediments

    have also been established in boreholes drilled in the offshore

    Bay of Bengal along the extension of Godavari and

    Mahanadi Rivers.Apart from these traditional coal-bearing Gondwana

    Basins, sediments identical to the non-coal bearing basal

    part of Lower Gondwana Group of rocks are present in

    Jaisalmer Basin of Rajasthan, Salt Range in Punjab

    (Pakistan), along the Palaeo-Tethyan margin (stretching from

    Kashmir to Garhwal Himalaya) and along East Coast (in

    Palar and as a number of detached outliers). Besides, the

    Mesozoic basins of Kachchh and Eastern Pericratonic basins

    have temporally overlapping relation with Gondwana

    Basins. Although these basins are not generally included in

    the traditional Gondwana Basins, their geological history






    Cretaceous Damodar-Koel

    valleyRajmahal Mahanadi Son Satpura Godavari



    Lower Dubrajpur Kota



    Tiki Maleri






    Lower PanchetPanchmarhi




    Raniganj Raniganj Raniganj Bijuri LowerKamthi






    MeasuresMotur BarrenMeasures

    Lower Barakar Barakar Barakar Barakar Barakar Barakar

    Talchir Talchir Talchir Talchir Talchir Talchir








    Late Carboniferous

    Bansa bed



    ? ?


    Table 1. Existing scheme of correlation of Gondwana Formations

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    throws important light in the evolutionary history of

    Gondwana geology of India. Special emphasis needs to begiven to Salt Range in Punjab (Pakistan), because it started

    receiving sediments almost at the same time as Gondwana

    Basins of Peninsular India after a long post-Cambrian hiatus

    and being at the margin of Tethys, the fossiliferous

    succession gives a very good idea about the sea level changes

    with time along Indian plate boundary during the deposition

    of Gondwana succession in interior basins.

    All the traditional Gondwana Basins of India show

    graben or half-graben geometry. Various theories have been

    proposed to explain the origin of Gondwana Basins of India

    that mainly revolved around the timing and role of boundary

    faults in basin evolution i.e. whether the boundary faults

    are intrinsic where sedimentation continuedpari-pasu withtectonism or the faults are much later phenomenon that

    preserve part of much larger original basins. A number of

    workers believed that the Gondwana Basins, initiated in

    glacially modified basement depressions, were of much

    larger dimension and might be a single master basin. The

    remnants are now preserved due to faulting at a much later

    stage, variously suggested as Middle Triassic, Jurassic,

    Cretaceous or even younger, along the present day basin

    boundary (Gee, 1932; Pascoe, 1968; Ahmed and Ahmed,

    1977, Veevers and Tiwari, 1995). According to proponents

    of rift basin model, the subsidence was tectonically

    Dharwar Craton




    Bundelkhand Craton




    Satpura Son




    Extrapeninsular basins





    Fig.1. Distribution of Gondwana basin belts of India.

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    controlled from very beginning and faults were

    contemporaneous but spread over a great period of time

    (Fox, 1934).

    Indian shield is a mosaic of a number of Archaean

    cratonic blocks (Radhakrishna and Naqvi, 1986). All the

    present day Gondwana Basins are situated within the suture

    zone between these cratonic blocks (Fig.1). A number of

    crustal scale shear zones are present within these belts. The

    strong parallelism between the faults and the shear zones

    within basement leads to the idea of reactivation of

    Precambrian weak zones during Phanerozoic crustal

    distension resulting in basin formation (Chatterjee and

    Ghosh, 1970; Mitra, 1994; Biswas, 1999; Acharyya and Roy,

    2000). The basins are also conceived to have formed initially

    as Sag-type basins that were later on (post-Barakar)

    converted into rift basins or pull-apart type basins (Biswaset al. 1993; Biswas, 1999). A detailed study of the Indian

    basins reveals that the sedimentation in Gondwana Basins

    of India evolved through a complex interplay of faulting,

    changes in sea level and climate. The basinal geometry was

    modified by tectonic movement during different periods

    which can often be correlated with Gondwanide events.


    India along with the continents of southern hemisphere

    was part of supercontinent Gondwanaland (Suess, 1885),

    that existed as a single landmass since Cambrian till its

    eventual break up in phases during Jurassic-Lower

    Cretaceous. India, Madagascar, Western and Northern

    Australia, East Antarctica formed East Gondwana while

    Africa and South America were part of West Gondwana.

    These two were sutured along Neo-Proterozoic mobile belt

    of Arabia - Nubia - Ethiopia - Kenya - Mozambique

    (Hoffman, 1991; Unrug, 1996).

    No pre-Gondwana sedimentary record is preserved in

    the entire interior part of Gondwanaland since unification.

    During this time, sedimentation took place only in the

    southern Palaeo-Pacific margin and northern Tethyanmargin. Gondwanaland collided with Laurasia during

    Carboniferous between 330 and 320 Ma to form Pangea

    and Ice sheets developed on the highlands (Veevers, 2004).

    Initial sedimentation in all the basins of Gondwanaland

    took place due to melting of glaciers. Multiple deglaciation

    sequence has been recognised in many basins. The earliest

    radiometric age, measured from juvenile magmatic zircon

    associated with interglacial marine mudstone of Dwyka

    Group from Kalahari Basin, Africa is 302 3 Ma (Bangert

    et al. 1999). Veevers (2006) has considered 302 Ma

    (Gzhelian) as the time of inception of Gondwana Basins.

    Deglaciation caused rise in sea level and seawater inundated

    the basins deep inside the Gondwanaland, which is

    manifested by the occurrence ofEurydesmaand other marine

    fauna all over the Gondwanaland countries during Early

    Sakmarian at around 290 + 4 Ma (Bangert et al. 1999). Top

    oftime slot Ihas been chosen at 290 Ma which corresponds

    to top of Talchir Formation in India. Time slot Ithus ranges

    from around 302 Ma (Gzhelian Stage, topmost series of

    Pennsylvanian Series of Carboniferous) to 290 Ma (Early

    Sakmarian Stage, Lower part of Cisuralian Series of

    Permian) during which this early glacial or glacially

    influenced sedimentation took place.

    Following the Sakmarian marine transgression, near

    shore environment prevailed in many basins in the interior

    parts of the Gondwanaland with the advent of fluvial

    environment in the marginal part of the basins underperiglacial climate (Collinson, 1996; Chakraborty et al.

    2003; Eyles et al. 2003). The Lower part of Barakar

    Formation or the Karharbari Formation in India can be

    equated with these deposits.

    Visser and Praekelt (1996) proposed that far field stress

    generated due to oblique subduction of Panthalassan plate

    is the causative factor for opening of Zambezian-type rift

    basins in the interior part of Gondwanaland. A major phase

    of basin opening is thought to have been operative at 2782

    Ma, the second tectonic paroxysm of Cape Fold Belt of

    South Africa (Halbich et al. 1983), with the opening of Natal

    Trough as well as the rift system along East African Rift

    Valley. This period is correlatable with the major coal

    forming epoch almost over the entire Gondwanaland under

    a warmer condition. In India, the major coal bearing part of

    Barakar Formation was deposited.

    The Top of Time Slot IIis fixed at 271 Ma in topmost

    Kungurian, at the Cisuralian-Guadalupian boundary, when

    another Marine transgression started affecting marginal low-

    lying areas in Gondwanaland. Sibumasu (South and North

    China-Burma-Malaya-Sumatra) and Qiangtang separated

    from Gondwanaland along the Indo-Australian margin with

    the opening of Neo-Tethys (Metcalfe, 1996). In the westernpart of the Gondwanaland transgression took place under

    an arid to semiarid condition as in Oman, Madagascar,

    Tanzania and further north in Africa, Amazon Basin, South

    America (Kreuser, 1996). In Madagascar, Productus bearing

    Vahitola limestone was deposited at the top of Sakoa Group

    (Wopfner, 1993). The increasing aridity might have been

    resulted due to the volcanism in Tethyan margin and South

    America and rotation of western part of Gondwanaland

    towards equator (Acharyya, 2000). However, humid climate

    prevailed in eastern and southern part of Gondwanaland. In

    India, Ironstone-shale bearing Barren Measures in eastern

  • 7/27/2019 Strat i Graphy




    part (Damodar Valley and southern part of Mahanadi Valley)

    and red clay dominated Motur Formation in western part

    (Satpura, Wardha and northern part of Godavari Valley)

    were deposited in peripheral basins respectively while the

    basins, in the interior part, received sand-dominated fluvial

    sediments during this period.

    Guadalupian-Lopingian boundary at around 260 Ma is

    characterised by global regression (Gradstein et al. 2004).

    Coal forming period that ushered in Late Permian in southern

    and eastern part of Gondwanaland viz. India (coal bearing

    sediments of Raniganj Formation and its equivalents),

    Australia, Antarctica and South Africa is likely to coincide

    with this regressive phase. This regressive phase is associated

    with renewed rifting. In Madagascar, Sakamena Group

    deposited during this time with an unconformity with the

    underlying Sakoa Group (McElhinny, 1977).End of Permian is one of the five major extinction events

    in earth history. The sea level regressed to a large extent.

    Nearly 80% of marine genera perished. The Glossopteris

    and other peat-forming plants faded out during this global

    extinction (Retallack et al. 1996). Coal formation completely

    ceased. The sharp fall in 13C at the very end of the Permian

    is correlated with decrease in productivity and burial of

    organic carbon (Faure et al. 1996). Siberian flood basalt

    erupted at 250 Ma that continued into Early Triassic. Time

    Slot IIIranges from 271 Ma (Kungurian) to 251 Ma (P-T

    boundary). In India, Barren Measures (Ironstone shale),

    Motur Formations were deposited during the early part

    followed by Raniganj, Bijori, Lower Kamthi Formations

    during the latter part of this time slot.

    Globally Triassic is dominated by a progressive

    transgression that began in latest Permian and peaks in

    Anisian-Ladinian boundary (Gradstein et al. 2004). The

    advent of Triassic is marked by marine limestone-shale

    deposit in Madagascar (Sakamena II) and Salt Range

    (Ceratite bed). By early Triassic, the arid climate of western

    Gondwanaland extended over the eastern part marked by

    the deposition of red bed all over Gondwanaland.

    Major deformation took place in the foreland basinsalong southern Panthalassan margin of Gondwanaland

    during Ladinian (233 Ma) which Veevers (2004) termed as

    Gondwanide II followed by Pangean Extension II during

    which renewed rifting was associated with partial return of

    coal forming environment as observed in Australia, South

    Africa, Antarctica. However, the effect of these events are

    not that much well-recognisable in the northern basins of

    Gondwanaland during this time. In most of the Indian basins

    sedimentation continued uninterrupted upto Early Norian.

    Time Slot IVcovers the period from P-T boundary (251Ma)

    to Early Norian. In India, arkosic to subarkosic sandstone -

    red clay bearing Panchet Formation in Damodar Valley

    Basins, Pali-Tiki Formation in Son Valley Basins, Lower

    Panchmarhi-Denwa in Satpura Basin, Lower Kamthi in

    Mahanadi Valley, Middle Kamthi and Yerapalli-Bhimaram-

    Maleri members of Maleri Formation (Ramana Murty, 1996)

    in Godavari Valley Basin were deposited during this period.

    The latter part of Upper Triassic is dominated by a

    regression with mass extinction and very poor sedimentary

    record in Late Norian and Rhaetian (Hallam, 1996). Pangea

    remained a single landmass. In the western Australia, end

    Triassic is marked by faulting and deep erosion of strata

    (Veevers, 2006). Triassic-Jurassic boundary witnessed the

    maximum outpouring of basalt in geological history in

    Central Atlantic igneous province at around 200 Ma (Hames

    et al. 2000). The time slot Vwhich starts at Late Norian

    continued, as discussed later, upto Early JurassicPliensbachian. This is followed by the resumption of

    sedimentation with distinctly different character under

    renewed tectonic movement. Time slot V, the period of

    mostly nondeposition with concomitant erosion and tilting

    has been tentatively assigned an age from Late Norian to

    Pliensbachian. In the northern part of Godavari Valley

    fossiliferous red clays (gypsum bearing, Yadgiri and Rao,

    1988) of Dharmaram Member of Maleri Formation were

    deposited during this time slot. As discussed later, lower

    part of Bagra Formation in Satpura Basin may be the only

    other example. Unlike the overlying quartzarenitic

    sandstone, feldspar continues to be a constituent of the

    sediments deposited during this time (Yadgiri and Rao, 1988,

    Dutta and Laha, 1977).

    During Lower Jurassic, thick quartzarenitic coarse-

    grained sandstone was deposited in many basins associated

    with renewed rifting in the interior part of Gondwanaland

    as in western Australia, Madagascar and India. Tholeiitic

    basalt erupted in southern part of Africa, Antarctica and

    Australia between 184-179 Ma (Veevers, 2006). Deposition

    in inland basins coincides with Pangean breakup through

    opening of the rift oceans that started at Oxfordian, Upper

    Jurassic (around 160 Ma). Africa and South America startedsplitting from the Gondwanaland. These deposits are mostly

    unfossiliferous, particularly at the lower part, and the

    available plant fossils have very long range. The span of

    Time Slot VIis taken to be Pliensbachian (Lower Jurassic)

    to Oxfordian (Upper Jurassic) (~185-160 Ma). In India,

    Suprapanchet in Damodar Valley, Dubrajpur in Rajmahal,

    Upper part of Kamthi in Mahanadi Valley, Mahadeva,

    Parsora, Bandhavgarh in Son Valley, Upper part of

    Panchmarhi and Upper part of Bagra (?) in Satpura, Upper

    Kamthi and Kota in Godavari Valley were likely to be

    deposited during this time.

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    Upper Jurassic deposits are rare in Gondwanaland

    interior. Release of stress due to break up of Pangea

    might be the reason of lack of subsidence in the rift basins

    resulting in non-deposition. A prominent unconformity is

    present at the top of the deposits of time slot VI.

    However, the marginal basins, with open marine connection,

    continued receiving sediment. The western pericratonic

    basins of India (Kachchh in Gujarat and Jaisalmir-Bikaner-

    Nagaur in Rajasthan) opened up during the breaking up of

    East and West Gondwanaland. No time slot is named for

    this period since it represents complete nondeposition in

    peninsular basins.

    Sedimentation in Peninsular India resumed, albeit in a

    limited scale in peninsular basins, during Early Cretaceous

    Aptian Stage and is the beginning ofTime Slot VII. Tholeiitic

    basalt erupted in India, in the form of Rajmahal Trap andrelated volcanics, western Australia and Antarctica over a

    protracted period of time. India got separated from

    Antarctica and Australia, with the opening of Indian Ocean,

    in the east and Madagascar from west and continued its

    northward journey marking the end of Gondwana

    sedimentation at the end of Albian. The top of time slot VII

    is selected at 105 Ma during Albian based on the youngest

    age of Rajmahal Trap related volcanism. Jabalpur, Bansa

    Bed, Gangapur/Chikiala, Umia plant bed, deposits within

    the pericratonic basins along East Coast, Infra-Rajmahal bed

    in Rajmahal Master basin were deposited during this period.




    The Gondwana Basins of Peninsular India preserve thick

    succession of unmetamorphosed coal bearing predominantly

    siliciclastic sediments, Gondwana Supergroup, deposited

    under a wide range of depositional environment from glacial,

    glaciofluvial, glaciomarine, fluvial, lacustrine to shallow

    marine over a prolonged period. More than 5 km thick

    sediment is present in Godavari, Satpura, Son Valley Basins.From rank study of coal seams of Jharia coalfield in Damodar

    Valley (Bardhan and Ghosh, 1999), an equal amount of

    thickness of sediment was assumed, a substantial part of

    which has been thought to be removed during subsequent

    erosion. As already mentioned, barring the basal Talchir and

    coal bearing Barakar Formation, overlying Permian and a

    major part of Triassic or even younger strata has often been

    clubbed into single formation earlier like Pali in Son Valley

    and Kamthi in Wardha-Pranhita-Godavari Valley Basin belt

    and Mahanadi Valley Basin belt. In last few decades, with

    the available surface and subsurface data, these broad units

    have been subdivided and separate horizons, equivalent to

    Barren Measures and Raniganj Formation of Damodar

    Valley Basins, have been clearly distinguished in all the

    major basins. However, the problem still persists with the

    classification of post-Permian strata. Most of these

    formations could not be assigned any specific age due to

    lack of precise palaeontological or radiometric age data.

    Palynological age data, though available and often used as

    an additional tool in this paper, is yet to be well established.

    As a result, the interbasinal correlation of different

    formations poses serious constraints. Hence an attempt has

    been made here to distinguish correlatable stratigraphic

    horizons in different basins in the light of above-mentioned

    seven time slots (Table 2). In absence of well accepted formal

    name, the subdivisions proposed here for the broad units

    are, designated by using informal prefix such as Lower,Middle, Upper before the widely used names.

    Time Slot I : Gzhelian (Upper Carboniferous) to Early

    Sakmarian (Cisuralian - Lower Permian) (302-290 Ma)

    The glacially influenced deposit which is ubiquitous at

    the base in all the Indian Gondwana Basins are named as

    Talchir Formation in peninsular part and by various names

    like Bap bed, Boulder bed etc. along Tethyan margin. It

    comprises diamictite, conglomerate, sandstone, shale,

    rhythmically alternating shale and sandstone with or without

    dropstones and thin marl bands.

    The deposition of Talchir Formation is considered to

    have started during Upper Carboniferous, similar to the other

    parts of Gondwanaland (Pascoe, 1968). Absence of

    characteristic Upper Carboniferous fossils or palynoflora

    within peninsular basins leads some workers to consider

    the whole of Talchir Formation as of Permian age (Tiwari,

    1996; Vijaya, 1996). However, palaeontological samples

    were collected mostly from upper part and the lower part

    yielded no fossil record (Sen, 1995). Talchir Formation

    attains more than 500 m thickness in many basins (Raniganj,

    Godavari, GSI exploration data). Multiple deglaciation

    sequences, similar in number to the southern marginal basinsof Gondwanaland where undoubted Upper Carboniferous

    age has been established, are reported from a number of

    Indian basins (Casshyap and Qidwai, 1974; De, 1979). India

    was at much Lower latitude than these basins. It is expected

    that the effect of deglaciation should be simultaneous if not

    earlier in Gondwana Basins of India. Hence an Upper

    Carboniferous age of initiation of Gondwana Basins of India

    is a distinct possibility.

    Undisputed glacial imprint is present at the basal part of

    the succession everywhere (Pascoe, 1968). The nature of

    sediment and associated sedimentary structures clearly

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    indicate marine influence in the upper part of the succession

    (Chakraborty, 1993; Mukhopadhyay and Bhattacharya,

    1996, Ghosh et al. 2004). Marine fossils dominated by

    Eurydesma and other Pelecypods, Brachiopods, Bryozoans,

    foraminifera has been recorded from the top of Talchir and

    equivalent formation from many basins like Umaria,

    Manendragarh, Daltonganj, Satpura and Rajasthan withinpeninsular India and all along the Tethyan margin (Reed,

    1939; Ghosh, 1954; Mishra et al. 1961; Dutt, 1965; Dutt

    and Shah, 1969; Dickins and Shah, 1977; Ranga Rao et al.

    1977; Ghosh, 2003). Sporadic occurrence of various types

    of marine fossils are also reported from Raniganj, Bokaro,

    Rajmahal, Jharia, Ramgarh, Godavari, Athgarh, Palar Basins

    (Venkatachala and Rawat, 1973; Tewari et al. 1981; Rawat

    and Jain, 1985; Ghosh et al. 1987; Tewari, et al., 1987;

    Banerjee and DRozario, 1988; Chaudhuri and Mondal,

    1989; Pal et al. 1994). The top of Talchir Formation, thus

    can reasonably be correlated with Gondwanide transgressive

    event, i.e. time plane 1 and can be assigned Early Sakmarian

    age (290 Ma).

    The fossil assemblage of Daltonganj, Manendragarh are

    rich inEurydesma fauna similar to Eastern Himalaya while

    that of Umaria and Salt Range are rich in Productus which

    lead Shastry and Shah (1964) to visualise two marine fronts,

    one from the east and other from the west. Marine incursionfrom northern Tethyan margin has also been envisaged

    (Veevers and Tiwari, 1995; Ravi Shanker et al. 1996). Ghosh

    (2003) proposed a single marine front from east. However,

    considering the wide occurrence of marine imprints in almost

    all the basins, particularly the marine occurrences in Palar

    Basin as well as in Damodar Valley Basins and southern

    part of Mahanadi Valley, it is difficult to explain all the

    marine occurrences by incursion either from east or north

    only. It is more likely that a major trough existed in between

    India and Australia-Antarctica, like the Malagasy trough

    separating India-Madagascar and Africa (Wopfner, 1991),

    Talchir Talchir Talchir Talchir Talchir

    Lr. Barakar/Karharbari

    Lr. Barakar Lr. Barakar Lr. Barakar Lr. Barakar

    Up. Barakar Up. Barakar Up. Barakar Up. Barakar Up. Barakar






    Bijuri Lr. KamthiRaniganj Raniganj

    Panchet Pali Lr. Panchmarhi Middle Kamthi





    DharmaramLr. Bagra

    Up. Panchmarhi

    / Up. Bagra

    Kota /

    Up. KamthiBandhavgarh


    JabalpurBansa bed


    Lr. Barakar

    Up. Barakar




    Lr. Kamthi

    Up. Kamthi



    Rajmahal Southern

    MahanadiSon Satpura Godavari






























    Time Slot


    Time Slot


    Time SlotV

    Time Slot


    Time Slot


    Time SlotII

    Time Slot




















    Table 2. Correlation of Gondwana formations based on present scheme

  • 7/27/2019 Strat i Graphy




    which had intermittent connection with the Tethys. During

    high stands, seawater entered into the inland basins from

    the main Tethys in the north as well as from the eastern and

    western tongues of Tethys (Fig. 2).

    Time Slot II : early Sakmarian to Kungurian (Cisuralian-

    Guadalupian boundary Lower and Middle Permian) (290-

    271 Ma)

    Following early Sakmarian high stand, the transgressive

    phase continued for a prolonged period with a reduced

    level. Predominantly finer clastic dominated, well sorted

    sediment of Lower part of Barakar Formation was deposited

    in deeper part of most of the basins. The slow rate of

    sedimentation is evidenced by intense bioturbation (Duttand Mukhopadhyay, 2001). Near marine environment is

    reported from Son Valley Basins, Daltonganj, North

    Karanpura basin (De 1979; Dutt and Mukhopadhyay, 2001).

    Tidal effect has been demonstrated in Satpura Basin (Ghosh

    et al. 2004). The thickness of these deposits is fairly constant

    ranging from 150 to 200 m in most of the basins. Fluvial

    condition prevailed in smaller basins and marginal part of

    larger basins with the deposition of coarse clastics with coal

    that has often been designated as Karharbari Formation (Raja

    Rao, 1987). Coal seams associated with Karharbari

    Formation are present in the small subsidiary basins like

    Giridih, Daltonganj, Deogarh group of coalfields, lying north

    of the main Damodar Valley Basins, Talcher, North

    Karanpura, Bisrampur coalfields and proximal part of some

    larger basins of Damodar Valley and Mahanadi Valley.

    Marine environment still prevailed in areas close to Tethyan

    margin as exemplified by the occurrence ofEurydesma in

    equivalent Badhaura Formation, overlying Bap bed in

    Rajasthan (Ranga Rao et al. 1977). A general review of

    Damodar-Koel Valley Basins reveal that the basinal

    morphology is identical during the deposition of Talchir

    Formation and Lower Barakar/Karharbari and their

    disposition is unrelated with the present day boundary

    fault. Besides lithological distinctiveness, this zone also

    has a distinctive floral and palynological character(Gondwanidium, Buriadia flora and Palynozone II of Tiwari,

    1996) quite similar to underlying shaly Talchir Formation

    but distinctly different from overlying coal bearing fluvial

    Barakar Formation. In many basins, Karharbari Formation

    is overlain by a thick oligomictic quartz pebble conglomerate

    similar to that reported from the top of fluviatile Fairchild

    Formation in Transantarctic mountain, Antarctica where they

    have been considered to represent a temporary pause in

    sedimentation (Collinson, 1996). Major basin forming

    tectonic movement post-dates this period.

    With retreat of the sea, fluvial environment spreads over








    Fig.2. Likely pathways for Permian marine incursions

  • 7/27/2019 Strat i Graphy




    the entire span of Indian peninsula. The boundary faults came

    into existence by reactivation of preexisting shear zones

    within basement in response to large-scale tectonic

    movement rendering the present day shape of the basins.

    Basinal area enlarged, most conspicuous in Damodar Valley.

    The initial Sag basins now become tectonically controlled.

    This change over may be correlatable with the 2782 Ma

    (Artinskian) paroxysm of Cape Fold Belt. Individual basins

    in different belts opened up, as proposed by Chakraborty et

    al. (2003), either as pull-apart basins or as purely rift basin

    depending upon the orientation of the pre-existing fracture

    system under a northeastward bulk extension. Subsidence

    and deposition took place only in those peninsular basins

    which were affected by these faults. Some northwest trending

    troughs in off shore Bay of Bengal continue to receive

    sediments during Permo-Triassic period (Chandra et al.1996). Deposition ceased in many basins due to lack of

    tectonic subsidence. The basins of Rajasthan, Palar and other

    troughs along east coast and many outliers beyond the

    present day basin margin preserve only Talchir and/or basal

    Barakar/Karharbari Formation.

    The early sediment during syn-rift stage is mostly arkosic

    sandstone with thick inertinite rich coal in all the basins.

    Protected peat swamps, developed in distal flood plains or

    slow subsiding lacustrine environment, has been proposed

    for the deposition of coal seams within Barakar Formation

    (Jowett, 1925; Pascoe, 1968; Casshyap, 1970; Casshyap and

    Tiwari, 1984, 1987). In the relatively smaller basins, like

    those of Damodar Valley, split nature of the seams near the

    peripheral part is accounted for by the oscillating nature of

    the fluvial front along the periphery of the coal swamp.

    Tranquil conditions, however, prevailed in the basin centre

    where thick coal seams devoid of sandy interbeds could

    form. The ash content also decreases towards the centre of

    the basins. Two major coal-forming phases can be recognised

    within the Barakar Formation (Laskar, 1977). The first one

    is present just above the Karharbari/Lower Barakar

    sediments and represents the thickest seam in all the

    coalfields of India. Synsedimentary faults, subbasinalstructures, fault-controlled character of the seams are quite

    evident from subsurface data. The second phase of thick

    coal development within Barakar Formation is restricted

    only in the eastern part of Peninsular India. There is a distinct

    increase of finer clastics with degeneration of coal seams

    from these seams onward within the Barakar Formation in

    eastern Indian basins.

    Time Slot III Kungurian to P-T boundary (Guadalupian and

    Lopingian - Middle and Upper Permian) (271-251 Ma)

    In Extra Peninsular India the middle Permian marine

    transgression is well documented by the deposition of Amb

    bed of Lower Productus limestone in Salt Range and eastern

    frontal basins of Himalaya. This event has been assigned

    271 Ma age (Gradstein et al. 2004). Similar Productus

    bearing Vahitola limestone was also deposited in

    Madagascar simultaneously. The effect of this transgressive

    event is manifested by the deposition of thick clay dominated

    sequence in the basins of Damodar-Koel Valley extending

    upto Ramkola-Tatapani in Son-Valley, in Talchir and Ib-

    Raigarh Basin in Mahanadi Valley in eastern India and

    Satpura, Wardha, Kamptee and northern part of Godavari

    Valley Basin in western part of India. In the eastern

    basins the succession is represented by Barren Measures

    that is characterized by grey to black coloured shale with

    ironstone bands/nodules, conformably overlies the Barakar

    Formation. While in the western India the equivalent MoturFormation is represented by Red-green mottled clay with

    calcretes that was deposited, probably after a break in

    sedimentation, over the Barakar Formation (Fox, 1931).

    Marine influence can be recognised by the presence of

    Bryozoa (Raniganj Basin), Foraminifera (Satpura Basin),

    high content of P2O

    5(up to 30% in Ib and Mand-Raigarh,

    West Bokaro, South Karanpura Basins), chamosite

    (Northern part of Godavari Valley), preponderance of wave

    generated structures, including Hummockey cross

    stratification and extensive burrowing dominated by

    Skolithos and Cruziana ichnofacies (Bose and Sengupta,

    1993; Sengupta et al. 1996; Dutt and Mukhopadhyay, 2001).

    Connection with Tethys was established through the same

    pathways as Early Sakmarian (Fig.2). However, in major

    part of Son Valley, southern part of Godavari Valley and in

    the northern part of Mahanadi Valley, which were probably

    located at higher altitudes, the Barren Measures is mostly


    Raniganj Formation and its equivalents, deposited during

    successive regression, overlies the Barren Measures/Motur.

    A coarsening upward motif is recognised in Raniganj

    Formation from many basins. Analysis of sub-surface data

    points towards a tectonic movement at the base of RaniganjFormation in many basins. Boundary faults got reactivated

    as evidenced by the occurrence of Raniganj Formation

    immediately above basement along the southern faulted

    margin in some basins like Raniganj, Jharia, Ib etc. Coal

    forming environment reappeared, however, economic coal

    deposits are present only in Raniganj, Jharia and Singrauli

    Basin. It can be correlated with similar coal-bearing

    formations associated with Late Permian regression in

    Australia, Antarctica or South Africa. The basal part is a

    heterolithic unit followed upward by sandstone which is

    often calcareous towards the top. In Salt Range a temporary

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    regression is marked by the occurrence of Glossopteris

    bearing carbonaceous shale-sandstone horizon within

    Wargal that has been assigned 260 Ma age (Pascoe, 1968;

    Gradstein et al. 2004). Accordingly Barren Measures-

    Raniganj transition may be assigned around 260 Ma i.e.

    Guadallupian-Lopingian boundary. Depositional

    environment was more anoxic than the underlying

    Karharbari or Barakar Formation. Glossopteris flora, which

    was the main source of vegetal matter for the Permian coals,

    reached its acme in development during the deposition of

    Raniganj and its equivalent formation.

    Raniganj Formation is likely to end well within Permian.

    A disconformity marked by Palaeosol and profuse

    calcretisation at the top of Raniganj and equivalent

    formations has been recognised, particularly at the proximal

    part of many basins. Gee (1932) has proposed adisconformable relation between Raniganj and overlying

    Panchet Formation in Raniganj Basin. Palaeosl horizons

    have been reported from many coalfields at the contact

    between Raniganj Formation and overlying Triassic

    deposits. Bijori Formation in Satpura Basin has been

    assigned an age of Early Tatarian based on fossil evidence

    leaving a small window at the top of Permian. The

    depositional mode also shows sudden change from finer

    facies of Raniganj Formation to coarse clastic dominated

    Early Triassic deposits in most of the basins except Godavari

    Valley and Damodar Valley. The Permo-Triassic hiatus has

    been recognised in Salt Range also. Although no lithological

    break is apparent between the Permian Productus limestone

    and Triassic ceratite bed but a disconformity has been

    advocated by Gee based on distinctly different fossil

    assemblage (Pascoe, 1968). The Otoceras woodwardi

    bearing basal part of Triassic section in Salt Range

    (Greisbach, 1880) represents the base of Triassic at 251 Ma

    (Gradstein et al., 2004).

    Time Slot IV P-T boundary to Early Norian (251-~210 Ma)

    The advent of Triassic is marked by arid climate in

    most of the basins. Coarse clastic dominated quartzo-feldspathic sandstone with lenses of conglomerate and thin

    persistent variegated to red mudstone/siltstone were

    deposited in some basins like Mahanadi (lower part of

    Kamthi Formation), Satpura (lower part of Panchmarhi

    Formation) and Son (Pali Formation). In Satpura and

    Son Valley the sandstone grades into clay dominated

    Denwa and Tiki Formation respectively by Middle Triassic.

    However, in Godavari Valley (Middle Kamthi/Maleri

    Formation) and in Damodar Valley (Panchet Formation)

    clay-rich sediments were deposited from the beginning of

    Triassic. Warm to hot climate with low seasonal rainfall and

    annual deficit in water budget as indicated by presence of

    peloids has been suggested for the clay rich upper part of

    Triassic deposits (Sarkar, 1988). Although fossils are rare

    within the coarse grained sandstone but the clayey formations

    contain abundant fossils. Presence ofLystosaurus and

    other fossils (Panchet Formation in Raniganj Basin and

    Mangli bed in Wardha Basin), typical Triassic flora, Estherid

    (Ghosh and Shah, 1977; Datta and Ghosh, 2001) indicate

    that the sedimentation started almost at the dawn of Triassic.

    The beginning of Triassic witness the arrival of new set of

    mioflora forms like Densisporites, Lundbladispora,

    Playfordiaspora, Lunatisporites, Klausipollenites,

    Alisporites and Falcisporites which is followed by non

    taeniate dissacates (Ghosh et al. 1996). The fossil

    assemblage of Panchet, Tiki, Denwa and Maleri Formation

    (excluding Dharmaram Member) indicate that thesedimentation in all the basins stopped by Early Norian

    (Chatterjee and Roychowdhury, 1974; Kutty et al. 1987;

    Kutty and Sengupta, 1989; Bandopadhyay, 1999;

    Bandopadhyay and Sengupta, 1999).

    The Middle Triassic Gondwanide II event (Veevers,

    2004) is not manifested in any basin. The only deposit in

    Indian basins that has been correlated with the Pangean

    Extension II event of Veever (2004) is the Bhimaram

    Member of Maleri Formation in Godavari Valley which

    laterally grades into Maleri clay (Ramana Murty, 1996).

    Time Slot V: Late Norian to Pliensbachian (Lower Jurassic)

    In almost all the peninsular basins of India there is a

    pronounced Post-Early Norian hiatus. This hiatus is marked

    by deep erosion, faulting, tilting of strata and complete

    change of depositional milieu and the break between the

    underlying and younger deposits of Lower Jurassic age is

    the most easily recognizable break in sedimentation within

    Gondwana Basins of India. Sedimentation continued only

    in part of Godavari Valley Basin in the form of Dharmaram

    Member upto Early Jurassic under a very arid condition

    (Yadgiri and Rao, 1988). Although there is no appreciable

    break in sedimentation, but no faunal member of the Malerihave been found in the Dharmaram Member. Two faunal

    assemblages have been found within Dharmaram. The lower

    part is of late Norian age (Kutty and Sengupta, 1989) while

    upper horizon marks the onset of Jurassic (Yadgiri and Rao,

    1988). Analysis of fault pattern indicate a break between

    Maleri and Kota Formations (King, 1988; Veveers and

    Tewari, 1995).

    One of the most problematic horizon in Gondwana

    stratigraphy is Bagra Formation in Satpura Basin. Bagra

    Formation comprises essentially of conglomerate, variegated

    shale and frequent bands of limestone and dolomite. The

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    conglomerate contains clasts of banded jasper, sandstone,

    vein quartz, black chert, green phyllite, epidote granite, pink

    quartzite and pink feldspar (Dutta and Laha, 1977). Along

    the northern margin of the basin the formation directly

    overlies the metamorphic rocks while in the south it grades

    to clay of the upper part of Denwa Formation (Raja Rao,

    1983). The Denwa ends up with a thick red mudstone and

    the Bagra starts with another red mudstone and both coalesce

    to form a very thick red mudstone unit (Dutta and Laha,

    1977) which led many workers to club them together

    (Crookshank, 1936, Peter and Shing, 2001). No Fossil record

    has so far been recovered from this formation to fix its age.

    The contact between Bagra Formation and overlying

    Jabalpur Formation is an unconformity. Based on the

    occurrence of clasts of northern source area it has been

    considered to be deposited after a regional reversal ofpalaeoslope and hence assigned an Upper Jurassic to Early

    Cretaceous age. However, considering the presence of

    feldspar (Dutta and Laha, 1977) and comparing with

    Godavari Basin it is tempting to consider the lower clay

    dominated part of Bagra Formation as equivalent to

    Dharmaram Member of Maleri Formation and the upper

    part with the younger Early Jurassic deposits. A break is

    also evident along the Tethyan margin during this time slot

    (Pascoe, 1968).

    Time Slot VI: Pliensbachian to Oxfordian (185-160 Ma)

    The hill forming sandstones in all the basin belts occur

    as capping over the earlier formations and are likely to be

    deposited during Early Jurassic. Very coarse to coarse-

    grained sandstone, conglomerates and the pebbly sandstone

    lenses constitute about 85% of this sequence (Casshyap and

    Tewari, 1984). Clay, mostly red and white, occur as clasts

    and thin lenses within the sandstone. The sandstone is almost

    devoid of feldspar and show large scale cross stratification.

    A low angle unconformity at the base is characteristically

    present in all the basins and the nature of the deposit is

    identical. These rocks, barring their quartzarenitic

    composition, are quite similar to the underlying EarlyTriassic sandstone-dominated deposits. The close similarity

    between these deposits and the Early Triassic sandstone

    poses major problem in Upper Gondwana stratigraphy of

    India. However, a closer scrutiny of lithology and contact

    relation with underlying lithounit can help in distinguishing

    the two. The quartzofeldspathic lower part of Panchmarhi

    Formation conformably overlies Bijori Formation and shows

    gradational contact with overlying Denwa Formation that

    continues upto Early Norian. In contrast, the quartzarenitic

    upper part of Panchmarhi Formation which is separated from

    the underlying quartzofeldspathic lower part with a thick

    quartz pebble conglomerate bed, as exposed in the

    Panchmarhi-Dhupgarh road section, always rests

    unconformably over the Bijori Formation wherever, the two

    are in contact (Crookshank, 1936). Few thin marl bands are

    present within Upper part of Panchmarhi Formation as

    exposed at the top of Dhupgarh hill. Kamthi Formation in

    Mahanadi Valley can be classified into two parts. The lower

    part is coarse-grained feldspathic sandstone with greenish

    white shale and the upper part is cross-bedded ferruginous

    quartzarenitic sandstone with bands of variegated shale

    containing plant fossils. An Upper Triassic age has been

    assigned based on plant fossils all of which extends well

    into Early Jurassic (Chakraborty, 1989; Chakraborti and

    Chakraborty, 2001). The fossil assemblage of Parsora/

    Bandhavgarh/Hartala also indicates Early Jurassic age (Sukh

    Dev, 1987; Kundu et al. 1993; Tarafdar et al. 1993). SimilarlyUpper Kamthi Formation in Godavari Valley not only

    unconformably lies over the Early Triassic Middle Kamthi

    and all other older formations, but also been reported to

    overlie Maleri Formation at places (Dutta, 1996). Early

    Jurassic plant fossils have been reported from this horizon

    from the southern part of the basin which led to considering

    the upper part as Kota Formation (Lakshminarayan and

    Kutumba Rao, 1988). Subsurface data also clubs the Upper

    Kamthi with lower part of Kota Formation (Raiverman,

    1986). Fossil is almost absent. The only fossil bearing strata

    is present in the upper part of Kota Formation which

    indicates that the sedimentation continued upto Middle

    Jurassic (Govindan, 1974; Yadgiri and Rao, 1988). The plant

    fossils of Dubrajpur Formation also supports Jurassic age

    (Ball, 1877; Sah and Shah, 1974; Sengupta, 1988). No

    meaningful fossil record has yet been found within

    Suprapanchet. Considering the close similarity of lithology

    and structural set up it is quite logical to consider that the

    deposits represent a new depositional environment, distinctly

    different from the underlying Gondwana deposits. The fossil

    assemblage of Dharmaram Member of Maleri Formation,

    that underlies the deposits of Time Slot VI (i.e. Kota

    Formation in Godavari Valley) has an Early Jurassic affinity.The palaenological samples collected from Kota Formation

    gives a Pliensbachian age (Vijaya, 2000). In western

    Australia, almost identical sediments were deposited during

    Early Jurassic and continued upto Middle Jurassic.

    Considering the above facts an Early Jurassic age may be

    assigned for initiation of these deposits in all the basins of

    India under renewed rifting. The upper limit of this time

    slot may be fixed at Middle Jurassic based on the age of

    fossil within Kota Formation (Bandopadhyay, 1999).

    Opening of Kachchha Basin in Gujarat and Bikaner-Nagaur-

    Jaisalmer Basins in Rajasthan with marine sediments and

  • 7/27/2019 Strat i Graphy




    the closing of the Inland basins took place almost at the

    same time. Deposition in most of the Gondwana Basins in

    India stopped after this time slot except in some isolated

    pockets where Lower Cretaceous sediments were deposited

    after a long break.

    Time Slot VII: Aptian-Albian (Lower Cretaceous)

    (125-105 Ma)

    These sediments were deposited over the deposits of

    time slot VI after a break in sedimentation and include

    Jabalpur Formation in Satpura Basin, Bansa bed in Son

    Valley, Gangapur/Chikiala bed in Godavari Valley,

    Infratrappean bed in Rajmahal master basin. Age of these

    inland deposits has variously been assigned Late Jurassic to

    Lower Cretaceous. Sedimentation continued in the western

    pericratonic basin and started afresh in the easternpericratonic basins. The fossil record from the coastal basins

    as well as palynological data has assigned Early Cretaceous

    age (Aptian-Albian) to these deposits. Thin coal bands/

    carbonaceous shale developed in Bhuj Formation in

    Kachchh, Jabalpur, Chikiala and Infratrappean bed of

    Rajmahal master basin after a long break since Permian.

    These basins were possibly opened up in response to the

    stress that ultimately led to separation of Australia and

    Antarctica from India.

    This phase of sedimentation is followed by an extensive

    eruption of basic magma with a maximum thickness of

    around 600 m in the eastern part of India known as Rajmahal

    Trap that covers the Gondwana sediments of Damodar

    Valley and Rajmahal master basin and extends in the

    Bengal Basin. Volcanic flows in Meghalaya, better known

    as Sylhet Trap, are considered to be equivalent. Subsurface

    data confirm the extension of Rajmahal Trap in the

    Surma Basin. According to the latest absolute dating,

    Rajmahal Trap erupted between 115-118 Ma (Bakshi,

    1986), approximately at the same age as Bunbury basalts in

    Western Australia and is considered to be related to the rifting

    of India from Australia and Antarctica (Storey, 1995).

    Besides these extrusive magmatism, a large number oflamprophyre dykes and sills are found to be restricted within

    the Gondwana Basins of Damodar Valley Basins. It is

    interesting to note that the lamprophyric intrusives are

    restricted mostly in Permian sediments, rarely intrudes

    Panchet Formation of Triassic age but nowhere they intrude

    within the Suprapanchet or equivalent formations. However,

    K-Ar age of these lamprophyres ranges from 105 to 121

    Ma and are believed to be true crystallisation age which

    correlates them with Rajmahal Trap (Sarkar et al. 1980).

    The upper boundary of time slot VII is fixed at 105 Ma

    (Albian). This marks the end of Gondwana sediments in

    India as henceforth Indian plate got detached from the

    rest of Gondwanaland and moved northward as a separate



    The Gondwana Basins of India represent about 200

    Million years of geological record of Peninsular India. The

    basins originally evolved as sag basins but later on switched

    over to fault controlled basins in response to large-scale

    tectonic movements many of which are pan-Gondwanaland


    The predominantly siliciclastic sediments in these

    basins are mostly deposited under continental set up.

    However, marine influence can be visualised in Early

    Permian and Middle Permian strata of Gondwana Basinsof India.

    Gondwana deposits are scattered in a number of basins.

    Various nomenclatures have been proposed in different

    basins. Due to close similarity of lithology and poor exposure

    level, the contact relation between different formations is

    blurred in most cases. Fossils are restricted only in few

    horizons and well-constrained fossils are extremely rare.

    No radiometric age data is available for any of the horizons.

    No volcanism, that is characteristic of most of the rift basins,

    is present in Gondwana Basins of India during the entire

    period of sedimentation except Rajmahal Trap in eastern

    basins, that marks the end of Gondwana Supergroup

    and occurs at the top. The present approach, thus took

    cognisance of the surface and subsurface data accrued

    from different basins and well-dated events in other parts

    of Gondwanaland, particularly those that affect the

    surrounding areas of India. Such type of combined

    approach, incorporating the essence of various schemes,

    provide important tool in classifying the Gondwana

    succession in different basins into some time slots and

    help in resolving long standing controversies in both

    intra- and inter-basinal correlation.

    Initial sedimentation in Gondwana Basins of India tookplace during latest Carboniferous in sag type basins over

    the Precambrian basement through multiple deglaciation.

    Widespread transgression inundated almost all the basins

    during Early Sakmarian at around 290 Ma as evidenced by

    marine fossils at the top of Talchir Formation. Tethyan

    marine front entered into the interior area from north, east

    and west. Near marine condition prevailed during the

    deposition of Lower part of Barakar Formation in the deeper

    part of many basins. However, coal bearing Karharbari

    Formation was deposited in small subsidiary basins of

    Damodar Valley or in the marginal part of the larger basins

  • 7/27/2019 Strat i Graphy




    where fluvial condition was established. Coal seams

    associated with Karharbari Formation or Lower part of

    Barakar Formation are generally low ash, inertinite rich and

    have small lateral continuity. This deposits represents around

    12 Million years i.e. upto 278 Ma.

    During the subsequent regressive phase coal bearing

    part of Barakar Formation was deposited in a tectonically

    active environment. The thickest coal seam in all the basins

    has some striking similarity both in their stratigraphic

    disposition as well as petrographic make up and can be

    considered to have deposited more or less at the same time

    under similar tectono-sedimentary environment. In many

    basins of eastern India another thick coal seam developed

    within Barakar Formation that marks a distinct change in

    coal character as well as nature of associated sediments.

    This can be assigned 271 Ma age. The clay dominatedupper part of Barakar Formation and overlying Barren

    Measures in Damodar Valley, southern Mahanadi Valley

    were deposited subsequently. This thick upper coal is absent

    in most other basins and a temporary break in sedimentation

    is evident.

    Coal forming environment reappeared in the succeeding

    regressive phase during the deposition of Raniganj and

    equivalent formations. Although major coal deposits are

    found only in Raniganj, Jharia and Singrauli coalfields but

    thin coal seams/bands are present in almost all the coalfields.

    The formational contact between Barren measures

    Raniganj can roughly be assigned 260 Ma.

    Large scale extinction occurred across the plant and

    animal kingdom all over the earth during latest Permian with

    temporary cessation of sedimentation in most of the

    Gondwana Basins of India.

    Advent of Triassic at 251 Ma ushered renewed

    sedimentation under an arid environment in all the basins

    of India. New species appeared that could sustain the arid


    Sedimentation in most of the Indian Gondwana Basins

    came to a halt within Early Norian except in Godavari Basin

    (and probably also in Satpura Basin). This is followed by a

    period of nondeposition, basinal tilting, erosion and major

    faulting. A distinctly different depositional milieu was

    established during Early Jurassic around Plensbachian when

    the nature of sediments changed completely. During Middle

    Jurassic new basins opened up along the western margin of

    Peninsular India at around 160 Ma. India along with other

    constituents of eastern Gondwana started separating from

    western Gondwana.

    The last phase of sedimentation took place in some

    isolated areas within the Gondwana Basins during Early

    Cretaceous (Aptian-Albian). Pericratonic basins along theeastern coast opened up. Extrusion of tholeiitic lava took

    place in the form of Rajmahal Trap and Lamprophyre dykes/

    sills were emplaced within Gondwana Basins in the eastern

    part of India. India got separated from Antarctica and

    Australia marking the end of the history of Indian Gondwana


    Acknowledgement: The authors are grateful to the

    Director General, Geological Survey of India for kindly

    permitting to present the paper in the national symposium

    organized by Geological Society of India at Trivandrum.

    Sincere thanks are due to Dr. D.I. Cole, Council for

    Geoscience, South Africa and a number of scientists of Coal

    Wing, GSI for extending their scientific wisdom through

    interactions, both in field and across the table. Authors are

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