Sedimentology of a Proterozoic erg: the Venkatpur Sandstone, Pranhita-Godavari Valley, south India



Reappraisal of the Late Proterozoic Venkatpur Sandstone indicates that the bulk of the sandstone is aeolian in origin. Aeolian stratification types, namely (i) inverse graded translatent strata, (ii) adhesion laminae, (iii) grainflow strata and (iv) grainfall strata, are present throughout the outcrop belt. Nine facies have been identified that represent both aeolian and related aqueous environments within a well-developed erg. Cosets of large cross-beds at the Bellampalli section in the NW of the study area record dune fields in the interior of the sand sea. To the SE, at the Godavari River and Ramgundam sections, a progressive increase in the relative proportion of the flat-bedded to cross-bedded facies and intercalated non-aeolian facies delineates the transition from the dune-field to sand-sheet environment. An alternating sequence of aeolian and marine sediments at Laknavaram, in the extreme SE, marks the termination of the sand sea. Palaeocurrent data suggest that the NW-SE trend of the sections represents a transect across the sand sea in a direction normal to the resultant primary palaeowind direction.

Abundant horizontally stratified units in the Vankatpur Sandstone do not always represent the interdune sediments. On the basis of the thickness and geometry of the units, nature of bounding surfaces and associated facies sequence, the facies is variously interpreted to represent interdune, inland sabkha, sand sheet and coastal sand flat deposits.