Unravelling depositional setting, age and provenance of the Simlipal volcano-sedimentary complex, Singhbhum craton: Evidence for Hadean crust and Mesoarchean marginal marine sedimentation

Surjyendu Bhattacharjee, Jacob A. Mulder, Subhajit Roy, Priyadarshi Chowdhury, Peter A. Cawood, Oliver Nebel

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The Singhbhum craton of eastern India preserves an extensive record of basin formation spanning the Paleoarchean to Neoarchean. Although spatially extensive and well exposed, the absolute age, depositional environment, and regional correlations of many of the purportedly Archean basins of this craton remain poorly resolved. We present a detailed lithostratigraphic analysis of siliciclastic strata in the (lower) Simlipal volcano-sedimentary succession and report the first detrital zircon U-Pb ages from this succession. The studied section is dominated by fine- to medium-grained, quartz-rich sandstones, which preserve herringbone stratification, tidal bundles, soft sediment deformation structures along with ubiquitous trough cross-stratification. Petrographic study confirms these sandstones as quartz arenites and reveal their high textural and mineralogical maturity. These features are consistent with deposition of the lower siliciclastic succession of the Simlipal volcano-sedimentary complex within a tidally-influenced marginal marine setting. The new detrital zircon data support a ~3.08 Ga maximum depositional age for the succession and reveal a provenance with age peaks at ca. 3.55–3.45 Ga, 3.38–3.24 Ga, and 3.10–3.08 Ga. These ages likely correspond to local basement sources including the Older Metamorphic Tonalite Gneisses, the Singhbhum Granitoid Complex, and the Mayurbhanj Granite Suite. Two detrital zircons from our dataset have concordant ages of ~4.02 Ga and ~4.03 Ga. They represent the first Hadean detrital zircons recovered from any Archean strata in the Singhbhum craton, documenting the involvement of Hadean crust in the early development of the craton. The detrital zircons show prominent Pb-loss at ~1.2–1.0 Ga that exemplifies the tectonothermal imprint of a late Mesoproterozoic to early Neoproterozoic orogeny (likely related to the assembly of Rodinia) on the Singhbhum craton. Our findings further support the interpretation that the lower siliciclastic strata in the Simlipal succession are the lateral facies equivalents of alluvial fan deposits at the base of the Dhanjori Formation, exposed to the north.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106038
Number of pages13
JournalPrecambrian Research
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Archean sandstone
  • Detrital zircon
  • Hadean zircon
  • Shallow marine sedimentation
  • Simlipal volcano-sedimentary succession
  • Singhbhum Craton

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