Shallow marine to pelagic sediments from a dismembered ophiolite, Kandra, southern India – Glimpses of ancient subduction zone related sedimentation

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Research Article

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Gondwana Research


A suprasubduction zone oceanic back-arc setting for the Paleoproterozoic Kandra ophiolite complex (KOC) in southern India has been suggested from geochemical signatures. The telescoped segments of thin deformed sedimentary successions of shallow marine to pelagic affinity, overlying a basaltic substrate and preserved within thrust slices of the KOC, are tectonically juxtaposed against the Eastern Dharwar craton margin. In the northern thrust slice (Kandra village succession), about 150 m of sedimentary strata show intercalation of quartz arenite and basaltic flow in the lower part, grading upwards to heterolithic sandstone-mudstone deposited above the storm wave base. In the southeastern part of the KOC (Gurramkonda succession), deep-water greywacke turbidite, pelagic chert, mafic tuff and volcaniclastics, and quartz arenite deposited below the storm wave base, are preserved as thrust bound packets. Intermittent basaltic outpourings punctuated deeper water deposition as evidenced by alternate metachert and metabasalt layers, and emplacement of basaltic rocks along small thrusts which transpose stratification. Craton margin sediments consists of immature, coarse terrigenous clastics intercalated with thin mafic tuff, suggesting influence of mass flow processes giving way to fluvial sedimentation in the lower part of the Udaigiri Group. Further up, fine grained plane laminated siltstone-shale with rippled sandstone lenses grade upward to compositionally mature quartz arenite deposited close to the craton margin, with signatures of tidal- and wave reworking. The association of stratigraphic successions of two contrasting depositional environments in the KOC adds to the spectrum of variation of sedimentary collage of the ocean plate stratigraphy. The Kandra village and Gurramkonda successions of the KOC, possibly represent ancient arc-trench milieu, and shallower part of oceanic marginal basin respectively. Paleoproterozoic subduction-accretion process led to collapse of these basins and tectonic emplacement of the KOC against the Eastern Dharwar craton margin which hosted near shore sedimentary succession of the Udaigiri Group, occurring west of the KOC.

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