Sinuous stromatolites of the Chandi Formation, Chattisgarh Basin, India: their origin and implications for Mesoproterozoic seawater

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Research Article

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Geological Magazine


Remnants of some of the planet’s most ancient life forms, stromatolites in the late Mesoproterozoic sea of the Chattisgarh Basin, India, preserve a conspicuous sinuous pattern. They occur as successive biostromes, 10–30 cm thick, separated by 2–5-cm-thick marly layers and discrete bioherms up to several metres thick and 20 m across. Stromatolite columns in the Chandi Formation are 5–10 cm high, sinuous, inclined and straight, with both branched and non-branched types. These stromatolites are composed of calcite micrite and show well defined light and dark laminae with evidence of erosion between lamina sets. The column sinuosity probably originated as a response to changes in direction and strength of currents. Successive flat beds of stromatolite (biostromes), separated by marl/clay horizons, impart a rhythmic pattern to the succession. The Chandi sinuous stromatolite columns resemble those occurring in China, North America and Siberia, of a comparable age, suggesting that similar marine conditions of stromatolite formation might have been operating in the late Mesoproterozoic seas worldwide. However, the petrographic and sedimentological analyses of these stromatolites indicate their development through in situ production of carbonate with some trapping and binding of detrital sediment. As a result of the presence of terrigenous material within the stromatolites, whole-rock geochemical analyses for trace elements and rare earth elements cannot be used for interpretation of seawater chemistry and the redox conditions at the time.

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