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Carbonate platform growth and cyclicity at a terminal Proterozoic passive margin, Infra Krol Formation and Krol Group, Lesser Himalaya, India

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Abstract

Abstract The Infra Krol Formation and overlying Krol Group constitute a thick (< 2 km), carbonate-rich succession of terminal Proterozoic age that crops out in a series of doubly plunging synclines in the Lesser Himalaya of northern India. The rocks include 18 carbonate and siliciclastic facies, which are grouped into eight facies associations: (1) deep subtidal; (2) shallow subtidal; (3) sand shoal; (4) peritidal carbonate complex; (5) lagoonal; (6) peritidal siliciclastic–carbonate; (7) incised valley fill; and (8) karstic fill. The stromatolite-rich, peritidal complex appears to have occupied a location seaward of a broad lagoon, an arrangement reminiscent of many Phanerozoic and Proterozoic platforms. Growth of this complex was accretionary to progradational, in response to changes in siliciclastic influx from the south-eastern side of the lagoon. Metre-scale cycles tend to be laterally discontinuous, and are interpreted as mainly autogenic. Variations in the number of both sets of cycles and component metre-scale cycles across the platform may result from differential subsidence of the interpreted passive margin. Apparently non-cyclic intervals with shallow-water features may indicate facies migration that was limited compared with the dimensions of facies belts. Correlation of these facies associations in a sequence stratigraphic framework suggests that the Infra Krol Formation and Krol Group represent a north- to north-west-facing platform with a morphology that evolved from a siliciclastic ramp, to carbonate ramp, to peritidal rimmed shelf and, finally, to open shelf. This interpretation differs significantly from the published scheme of a basin centred on the Lesser Himalaya, with virtually the entire Infra Krol–Krol succession representing sedimentation in a persistent tidal-flat environment. This study provides a detailed Neoproterozoic depositional history of northern India from rift basin to passive margin, and predicts that genetically related Neoproterozoic deposits, if they are present in the High Himalaya, are composed mainly of slope/basinal facies characterized by fine-grained siliciclastic and detrital carbonate rocks, lithologically different from those of the Lesser Himalaya.

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