20Jan 2017

IMPRINTS OF PLEISTOCENE SEDIMENTATION IN NARMADA RIFT VALLEY, CENTRAL INDIA.

  • Ex. Director, Geological Survey of India and Director, Rajeev Gandhi Proudyogiki Mahavidyalaya, Bhopal-462042, M.P India. Director, Pri-Med Care, Lewisville Texas 75067 USA.
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The SONATA LINEAMENT ZONE embodies the two Quaternary basins of tectonic origin on the two margins of Satpura Crustal Block. The Satpura block traversed by enechelon system of faults and lineaments is characterized by thinner crust (33-38 km deep, basement depth >2.5 km) with series of ENE-WSW trending gravity high (viz. Sendwa, Khandwa, Chicholi, Tikaria etc.) with amplitudes of 10-35 mgal. The chain of gravity high indicates extensive magmatism and emplacement of derivatives at shallow crustal levels. The associated Narmada South (Satpura North) fault and Satpura South Fault marking the two hinges of the Satpura block are fundamental in nature and extend to Moho level. The Narmada Quaternary basin in the north and Tapti-Purna basin in the south are two Graben which formed prominent loci of sedimentation in lineament zone. The area of lineament zone studied tectonically encompasses two crustal provinces of Central India Shield, namely, the Northern Crustal Province (NCP) and the Southern Crustal Province (SCP). The two provinces are separated by a crustal level shear zone, referred as Central Indian Suture.The zone has been a major locus of episodic tectonism and Quaternary sedimentation with evidences of reactivation. The E-W to ENE-WSW trending Narmada and Tapti lineament from a prominent tectonic belt (SONATA) in midplate continental India. The Narmada Rift valley formed a linear trench in the middle of Indian subcontinent was an ideal loci for accumulation of sediments.The rift trench is intruded by the dolerite and other mafic and siliceous dykes and sills along lineaments in different phases of tectonic deformation. The Quaternary sedimentation incepting from glacial activity, followed by fluvio-glacial, lacustrine and fluvial phase within the rinsing and sinking environment, block faulting and linear displacement and dislocation, uplifting and isolated domal up- lift, Neogene rifting and Quaternary sedimentation. The rift-bound Pliocene–Pleistocene rifting and volcanic activities specifically during glacial and fluvio-glacial phase are major component of the Quaternary period and tectonic processes of the Narmada Rift System which form the base of quaternary deposits. The Narmada rift system basin platform provided a unique setting for dynamic ecosystems that were characterized by Rift-related subsidence and coeval sedimentation and has also created an ideal loci of Quaternary sedimentation and environment for the accumulation of sediments volcanic fabrics sediments, burial, digenesis, and preservation of organic remains. The present disposition of Narmada blanket of Narmada, Tapti-Purna and Son in SONATA LINEAMENT ZONE revealed that the rift occured after widespread Quaternary sedimentation and accumulation of sediments in the linear trench by glacial activity in late Pleistocenc.The Fluvio-glacial phase is represents by boulder conglomerate which has formed the persistent horizon in the valley. The Narmada has in the area under study has sculptured the alluvial tract into stepped sequence forming four alluvial terraces along its course. These are designated as NT0 to NT3, NT0 being the youngest terrace and NT-3 the oldest terrace where the sub terraces are designated NT2-A is NT2-B, NT2 B, besides NT2-C, NT3-A & NT3-B in increasing order of antiquity. These are both erosional and depositional terraces and confined at an elevation of, between 280 to 310-380, are separated by the scarp both of curvilinear and linear in nature facing towards river side. These are abandoned flood plains represent the level of former valley floor in the area, and were formed by cumulative climato-tectonic changes in the watershed of Narmada in the Quaternary times. The Indian Plate is currently moving northeast at 5 cm/yr (2 in/yr), while the Eurasian Plate is moving northeast at only 2 cm/yr (0.8 in/yr). This is causing the Eurasian Plate to deform, and the Indian Plate to compress leading to tectonic activity along major fault zones. In tectonically active areas sedimentary basins undergo phases of both crustal extension and contraction leading to basin inversion and hence display features typical of subsidence and uplift. Geomorphic attributes and deformation in late Quaternary sediments are the indicators of active tectonic activity in any sedimentary basin. The geomorphic evolution in such reactivated basins is primarily due to complex interaction between sedimentation processes and tectonics. The peninsular India has been undergoing high compressive stresses due to the sea-floor spreading in the Indian Ocean and locking up of the Indian plate with the Eurasian plate to the north. Much of this N-S directed stresses have been accommodated by the under thrusting of the Indian plate below the Eurasian plate. A part of these compressive stresses are accumulated along the Narmada-Son Fault (NSF), a major E-W trending crustal discontinuity in the central part of Indian plate. The Quaternary tectonic activity recorded in the Narmada valley possibly, has wider ramifications when viewed in the larger perspective of the Indian plate on Quaternary sedimentation. This suggests a renewed phase of extreme compression of the Indian plate, which led to tectonic insecurity and may cause tumors and earth quake in peninsular India. The Narmada Rift valley forms a ENE-WSW lineament where Quaternary deposits are confined in a trough like basin on unstable platform which forms a prominent lineament with profound geomorphologic and geological asymmetry between the northern and southern valley walls, giving it a tectonic significance. The alluvial deposits of the Narmada valley represent the thickest Quaternary deposits in peninsular India. These sediments were deposited in faulted and sinking platform under structural riparian rift trench remained silent and unrevealed. The quaternary blanket of Narmada consists of sediments of various domains which were deposited in different environment in vertical chronology in faulted trough in time and space. The Quaternary blanket consists of sediments of three domains viz. glacial, fluvio- glacial and fluvial, which were deposited in distinct environments during Quaternary time. The Boulder Bed (20 to 260 m.) below ground level is of glacial origin, comprised of thick pile of sediments occupied at the base of rock basin and were deposited by glacial activities in dry and cold climatic condition during early Pleistocene time. The fossiliferous bed Boulder conglomerate (260 to 278 m. above m.s.l.) is of fluvio-glacial origin and top four formations in increasing antiquity are Sohagpur, Shahganj, Hoshangabad and Janwasa ( 278 to 350m. above m.s.l.) are of fluvial origin and represent the complete sequence of Quaternary sedimentation in Narmada valley & Central India Khan & Sonakia (1992). The boulder conglomerate is a marker horizon of Quaternary sedimentation in Narmada Valley and as well in Central India, its disposition and relation with other deposits in the valley, indicates a significant change in regional climate from cold dry to warm and humid, during which the sediment were re-worked from glacial front intermittently and deposited in the valley over a very long time. The skull cap of Homo erectus (Narmada Man) and other fauna recorded along with calc- nodules within the boulder conglomerate; suggest that warm climatic phase prevailed for very long time. The skull cap of Home erectus (Sonakia1984) and other fauna recorded along with calc- nodules near village Hathnora (22 ° 52” N; 77 ° 52” E) in fossiliferous boulder conglomerate; named as Hathnora formation Khan & Sonakia (1992) is found to be associated with volcanic Ash bed of Quaternary age in the area around Hathnora, and upstream Khan et.at. (1991). The two levels of horizons of Ash bed identified are designated as NAB-I and NAB-II in ascending antiquity in the valley. The Ash bed NAB-1 is associated lower litho units of boulder conglomerate which is well preserved and persistent where as NAB-II is associated with younger deposits. The NAB-1 contains three micro layer (L-1 to -L3) and NB-II two micro layers (L-4 ¬to L-5) in increasing antiquity.The Ash bed is associated with Hathnora formation at the depth of 78 m in Quaternary column and occurrences skull cape of Homo erectus at the depth of 83 m in decreasing antiquity from the top assumed that Toba eruption have taken place later than existence of Homo erectus which appeared and resided in the valley for long time before the fall of Toba ash. The association of Ash is NAB-I NAB-II at the depth of 72 m with the younger deposit revealed the second cyclic fall of Toba ash which certainly have had influenced on hominines and had collective and cumulative impact on Homo erectus (Sonakia1984) Homo sapiens (Thobold 1860, 81 ), in Narmada valley and Indian sub-continent.The Toba eruption was a mega event of very great magnitude and intensity, far greater than any known historical eruption, suggesting it had very devastating impact and repercussions. It has change the global climate environment and ecology. It is significant to note that the occurrences and association of two marked horizons at different levels further reveal that the cyclic eruption and settling of volcanic matrix has taken place with pause in the valley during sedimentation The study of grain morphology of glass matrix, their relation with other minerals shape, size, and texture of fragments and sediments of pyroclastic origin suggest that sediments were brought from distant source in the form of thick cloud containing dust matrix and volcanic ash which was highly explosive and siliceous in nature and remained in atmosphere for quite long time. The height of the eruption column appears to be considerable. It is postulated that the tephra preserved as disconnected bodies within the river valley sediments represent rapidly settled ash falls from a volcanic ash cloud which formed a canopy over a large part of river basins for longer time of Peninsular India where sedimentation was on in different river basins including Narmada valley. The discontinuity of Ash bed in Narmada valley and Indian subcontinent is attributed to be associated with column of volcanic eruption, quantum of volcanic matrix, wind direction, moisture density of air and rate of fall of matrix on oscillating platforms of sedimentation in different basin. It is significant to note that the occurrences and association of two marked horizons at different levels further reveal that the cyclic eruption and settling of volcanic matrix was with pause in the valley which perhaps related with pause in volcanic eruption The volcanic eruption and consequential ash fall has created severe dislocation in ecology and environment and adversely affected hominines in Narmada valley and Indian subcontinent. It is witnessed by association of Ash bed NAB-I with Hathnora formation at the depth of 78 m in Quaternary column and occurrences skull cape of Homo erectus at the depth of 83 m in decreasing antiquity from the top assumed that Toba eruption have taken place later than existence of Homo erectus which appeared and resided in the valley for long time before the fall of Toba ash. The association of Ash is NAB-II at the depth of 72 m with the younger deposit revealed the second cyclic fall of Toba ash which have had influenced collective and cumulative the Homo erectus (Sonakia1984) Homo sapiens ( Thobold 1860, 81 ), in Narmada valley and Indian sub-continent. The study of cyclic Toba ash fall and using phytogeographic data, Oppenheimer (2003) argues that Homo. Sapiens occupied India before ?74 ka and may have undergone “mass extinction” as a result of the Toba eruption. The argument of Oppenheimer (2003) is in strong conformity with the present observation of authors. As sediment & Ash bed sequence of Quaternary column of Narmada (325m) and occurrences of fossil of skull cape of Homo erectus (Sonakia1984) at 83 m & human cranium Homo sapiens (Thebold 1960,1981) ( transported ) have rarest occurrences of human fossils in Narmada valley and subcontinent which also confirm the intensive impact of volcanic ash fall on these hominines and their consequential mass extinction caused by mega dislocation in ecology and environment by volcanic eruption The Narmada skull cap of Homo erectus which is recovered from the vom of basal unit of boulder conglomerate at the depth of 83 m. (278 m. above m.s.l.) is estimated to be of upper segment of lower Pleistocene age. It is older than the Homo erectus of Chenjiawo, Congwangling of China which were recovered from paleo-sole and loess deposit at the depth of 38 and 26 m. The Quaternary sequence of Narmada (325 m.) as compared to Louchuan (136 m.) sections of China on unified Quaternary platform is older and represents the complete and type sequence of Quaternary sedimentation in Narmada Rift System in Central India. The occurrence of skull cap of early man at the depth of 83 m. in basal unit of boulder conglomerate of fluvio-glacial origin in Narmada Valley is one of the earliest and oldest Homo erectus in Asia. The statistical analysis of sediments form these different domain in vertical column has been conducted to ascertain the environment of sedimentation and trace the breaks in climate (Khan et.al. in press). An attempt has been made for the first time Khan et.al (2013) to correlate the various stratigraphic columns of associated hominid fossils of Narmada valley ( 325 m) India and that of Luochuan sequence,( 90-120 m) Chenjiawoe (50m ) and Congwanling sequence ( 36 m ) of China on unified Quaternary platform tied up and developed at mean sea level. The study revealed that the depth of occurrence of Narmada skull cap on unified Quaternary platform is about (83 m) as compared to with that of Chenjiawo and Gongwangling of China which occur at very shallow depth of 38 and 26 m respectively. The estimated age of Narmada Man based on these parameters is about 1.38 m.y. (+), which is greater than Homo erectus of Chenjiawo 0.65 m.y. and Gongwangling 1.15 m.y. of China An Zhisheng and Ho Chuan Kun (1989). In India Narmada basin considering the one of a main loci of Quaternary sedimentation, and assuming the uniform accumulation rate of sediment in the basin in the line of Ma. et. al. (1978) Yobin Sun & Zhisheng, An (2005) and comparing the Narmada sequence of Quaternary deposit (325 m.) with those of Luochuan standard sequence of Chenjiawo and Congwangling sequence of China. The skull cap of Homo erectus (Narmada Man) recovered from the boulder conglomerate of fluvio-glacial origin in middle part of Quaternary column from deep level of Narmada, at the depth of 83 m. above glacial deposits, in association of ash bed, as compared to Chenjiawo Hominid from inter bedded sequence of paleo sols loess and silty loess at the depth of 38 m. and Congwangling 26 m. from paleo sols which are younger than Narmada deposits. The Narmada skull cap of Homo erectus which is recovered from the vom of basal unit of boulder conglomerate at the depth of 83 m. (278 m. above m.s.l.) is estimated to be of upper segment of lower Pleistocene age. It is older than the Homo erectus of Chenjiawo, Congwangling of China which were recovered from paleo-sole and loess deposit at the depth of 38 and 26 m. The Quaternary sequence of Narmada (325 m.) as compared to Louchuan (136 m.) sections of China on unified Quaternary platform is older and represents the complete and type sequence of Quaternary sedimentation in Narmada Rift System in Central India. The occurrence of skull cap of early man at the depth of 83 m. in basal unit of boulder conglomerate of fluvio-glacial origin in Narmada Valley is one of the earliest and oldest Homo erectus in Asia. (Table No HE_1 to _3 & Plate No HE_ 1 to 9) The Paleo- anthropological information from these localities is remained closely associated with Quaternary sedimentary deposits boulder conglomerate and boulder bed often related to the trench Quaternary sedimentation, formation and development of rift and linear basin caused by repeated uplift, and the development of rift basins that began in the middle to late Pliocene and Pleistocene period. The unfortunate part of these deposits is that due repeated tectonic dislocation and faulting they are displaced dislocated and distorted the presently they are only exposed in limited section of meandring loop of Narmada river in valley at the base of NT2 and mostly concealed under the thick pile of sediments of present and paleo domain of Narmada of late Pleistocene and Holocene time. The disposition of boulder conglomerate and hidden its nature does not provide an adequate opportunity to researcher to study the human remain as postulated, except in limited section where they are exposed. it is difficult to disclose mysteries of human evolution in Narmada due to concealed nature of these deposits in rift system, however the complementary part of Tapti-Purna Quaternary blanket may be potential and possessive of human remain and should be studied to trace further the Imprints of fossil man taking in to account of SONATA LINEAMAN ZONE as single ecosystem for evolution of man in Indian subcontinent. The rift system and platforms of sedimentation bear the imprints of and evidence of the effects of tectonics on fauna and flora are distinct, however the signatures of subsidence dislocation and concealing of fossiliferous horizons are uncontrolled and ill defined in the ecosystem in the valley during the Pliocene–Pleistocene periods. The boulder conglomerate which yielded the skull cap of Homo eructs in Narmada rift from Hathnora Sonakia (1984) remained only discovery of hominid fossil in last two and half decade due to concealed and hidden nature of Mio-Pliocene Pleistocene deposits in rift system and inconsistency in exposure of fosilifrous horizon of Narmada rift system which is the handicapp in search of further human remains in Narmada valley after Khan et.al (2016), Khan et.al (2016), Khan et.al (2016) The Quaternary blanket has been studied complete in three dimention and abot 907 sediment were collected to study of statistical parameters heavy mineral assemblage, quatrz grain morphology, quartz grain morphology of paleosole, ash bed and other aspect accross the deph of about 480 m. The study reveled that their binary relations distinctly display contrasting and relative heterogeneity in sediment characteristics throughout across the Quaternary blanket in Narmada valley. The study of sediments display diagnostic characteristics of glacial , fluvio-glacial and fluvial environment at different depth and levels 000.m to150, 150 to 350, and 350 to 550 m from glacial, fluvio-glacial fluvial , and fluvial deposit (150 samples). The critical analysis of these parameters exhibits sediment textural linkage to long evolution in glacial, fluvio-glacial and fluvial environment in time and space in increasing antiquity in the valley. The characteristics inherited by the sediments from pre-existing domain of sediments are glacial & terrestrial & environment. The digenetic and diagnostic features; varying degrees of heterogeneity, sediment angularity roundness, degree of sorting indicate evolution and sedimentation of quaternary sediments in a high-energy turmoil glacial environment on tectonically dislocated and unstable platform. The sediments confined up to 150 m below ground level represent paleo fluvial domain of Narmada and represent multi cycle sedimentation under varying energy condition on oscillating platform. The vertical variation in increasing antiquity in textural parameters and distinct breaks at specific level identified indicate changes of environments of sedimentation in vertical columns from glacial at the bottom of valley trough subsequently followed by fluvio-glacial and further overlain by fluvial deposits which is related with change of climate and tectonic in watershed of Narmada. The binary relation of these parameters effectively used in differentiating and fencing the sediments of these domains and their environment of sedimentation in time and space Khan et.al (2015). The study of statistical parameters across the entire thickness of Quaternary deposits revealed three breaks in sedimentation at 350 -290,190-220,100-150 which represent glacial, Fluvioglacial and Fluvial environment of in increasing antiquity in from bed rock in Narmada valley. The qualitative and quantitative studies of heavy minerals of Quaternary deposits of different domain revealed five prominent heavy mineral suites viz, opaque suite; amphibole-pyroxene suite, biotite-muscovite-chlorite suite, garnet, sillimanite, kyanite, staurolite suite and zircon, rutile, tourmaline suite.. The mineral of stable group viz. rutile, zircon and tourmaline show uniform distribution in the entire domain of terraces in the area of study.The zircon rutile, tourmaline and sphene are highly stable minerals though their abundance is common in quaternary deposit, hence considered to be very significant. The grain morphology and imprints of sedimentation these mineral bear are of immense significance in understanding the source of sediment, its nature of transportation, mode of transport, kinetics of medium and sedimentation. The zircon rutile tourmaline and sphene minerals occur as accessories mineral, mostly released from rock fabrics comprising boulder bed and were subjected to different degree of wear and tear and physical condition of weathering transport and deposition, the micro imprints acquired by different condition of sedimentation revealed the intense grounding and bed traction of sediments from the source. The striations on these minerals indicate intense glacial activity in the initial stage of sedimentation. These are generally angular to highly angular in shape and show very poor indices of sphericity and roundness typical of glacial environments. Occasionally sub-hedral partly broken prismatic crystals of tourmaline are also in these deposits.The study revealed that sediments were primarily derived from metamorphic source comprising of kyanite-paragonite, muscovite schist, gneiss, garnet mica schist, and Para-amphibolite tourmaline garnet metasedimentarias and meta-volcanic. Apart these minerals are also reworked from older Quaternary deposits from Boulder bed glacial deposit, Boulder conglomerate of fluvio-glacial deposit and fluvial terrace and higher and other older terraces of fluvial domain. These heavies were basically transported from the sources area by glacial fluviol-glacial and fluvial agencies to the present site of their occurrence. The configuration of minerals, rock clastic, ground mass, imprints and impact of tectonics revealed the intense grounding and bed traction of sediments from the source to site of sedimentation. The Narmada before debouching into Gulf of Cambey a conspicuous quaternary blanket is encountered. This segment is about 90 km in length and forms the southern margin of the N–S extending Gujarat alluvial plains .A significant feature of the lower Narmada valley is the deposition of a huge thickness of Tertiary and Quaternary sediments in a fault controlled rift trench. To the south of the ENE–WSW-trending Narmada–Son Fault (NSF), the Tertiary rocks and basaltic flows of Deccan Trap Formation occur on the surface while to the north they lie in the subsurface and are overlain by Quaternary sediments .However, the overlying Quaternary sediments having a maximum thickness of 800 m (Maurya et al., 1995). The tectonic uplift of the lower Narmada valley during the Early and Late Holocene suggests inversion of an earlier subsiding basin. Such inversions of the basin have been common in the Tertiary times and are well recorded in the sediments of that age (Roy, 1990). A symmetric convergence of the NT-1,NT-2 terraces , diagonal disposition of paired equivalent of terraces across the channel , divergent and linear disposition of cliff of NT-3 terrace in conformity of NSF revaeled constant subsidence of basin and in response to frequential movement of geotectonic activity along the NSF. The strongest supporting evidence for the Early Holocene tectonic uplift of the area comes from the sea-level curves of the west coast of India which suggest a tectonic component of about 40 m at this time (Rao et al., 1996). In the Lower Narmada valley the Mid–Late Holocene Quaternary valley deposits is the product of a Holocene high sea-level-induced deposition in a deeply incised valley trench trough highly influenced by NSF. The Mid–Late which resulted in both estuarine and fluvial sedimentation in the lower reaches. A significant slowing down of tectonic uplift facilitated the encroachment of the sea into the valley and the creation of a depositional wedge, which extended up to the deep in land foothills. The 5–10-m exposed thickness of the valley-fill sediments reveals tide dominated estuarine deposition in the lower reaches and fluvial deposition upstream of the tide reach. The pre-existing quaternary platform of NT-3 of middle Pleistocene prior to induced sedimentation of tidal transgression was strongly induced by tectonic impulses of NSF. The relative disposition of terraces (NT-2 NT-3), cliff alluvial bluff and scarp, reveals that the present mouth of the Narmada river has retained roughly the originally funnel shape of the estuary formed during the Mid–Late Holocene. However, the size of the estuary is now considerably reduced in space and time with sedimentation and compressive tectonic environment. The stepped sequence of terraces NT0 to NT2A NT2B NT2C NT3A, NT3B) their dispodition, their convergence & divergence, cyclic and non cyclic nature and mutual inter relation revealed at least three mega phases and four micro phases of up rise of sea level related with tectonics of the area in late to upper pleistocene time. The incursion and transgression of tides, present estuarine reach contains several islands, which are coeval with the terrace surface above the present tidal range. Hence, they are the products of estuarine processes of the Mid–Late Holocene and not those of the present day. Funnel shaped morphology and increasing tidal energy landward are characteristics of tide-dominated estuaries (Wright et al., 1973). Existing data suggest that the Mid–Late Holocene sea level has remained at the same level up to the present with minor fluctuations (Chappel and Shackleton, 1986; Hashimi et al., 1995). The Mid–Late Holocene sediments show tilting of 10–20 which is more pronounced in the vicinity of the NSF suggesting that the incision and uplift of the valley-fill terraces well above the present day tidal limits is related to the continued differential uplift along NSF. Evidence of tectonic uplift has been reported from the coast also in the form of raised mudflats occurring 2–4 m above present sea level (Merh, 1993). Currently, the river occupies the northern margin of the Early Holocene channel belt and is clearly more sinuous. It exhibits a narrow channel with wide meanders inside wide belts of Mid–Late Holocene terraces ( NT-3) a typical pattern of under fit streams (Dury, 1970).


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[A. A. Khan and Maria Aziz. (2017); IMPRINTS OF PLEISTOCENE SEDIMENTATION IN NARMADA RIFT VALLEY, CENTRAL INDIA. Int. J. of Adv. Res. 5 (1). 265-315] (ISSN 2320-5407). www.journalijar.com


Dr. A. A. Khan
Director, Rajeev Gandhi Proudyogiki Mahavidyalaya,

DOI:


Article DOI: 10.21474/IJAR01/2748       DOI URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.21474/IJAR01/2748


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