Petrochemistry of sandstones from Neoproterozoic basins of the Bastar craton, Central Indian Shield: Implications for paleoweathering, provenance and tectonic history



Petrographic analysis and chemical analysis of major and trace elements including rare earth elements of the Neoproterozoic sandstones from the Chandarpur Group and the Tiratgarh Formation have been carried out to determine their provenance, tectonic setting and weathering conditions. All sandstone samples are highly enriched in quartz but very poor in feldspar and lithic fragments. Petrographically and geochemically these sandstones are classified as subarkose, sublitharenite and arenite. The Chemical Index of Alteration (CIA mean 68) and Th/U ratios (mean 4.2) for these sandstones suggest their moderate weathering nature. Generally, all sandstone samples are strongly depleted in major elements (except SiO2), trace elements (except Zr) and REE in comparison with Post Archean Australian Shale (PAAS) and Upper Continental Crust (UCC). Their mineralogy and mean of elemental ratios suitable for determination of provenance and tectonic setting, e.g. Al2O3/SiO2 (0.02), K2O/Na2O (10), Eu/Eu* (0.67), (La/Lu)n (10.4), La/Sc (3), Th/Sc (1.2), La/Co (0.22), Th/Co (0.08), and Cr/Th (7.2), support a felsic source and a passive margin tectonic setting for these sandstones. Also these key elemental ratios do not show much variation over a range of SiO2. Thus we attest their significance in determining source rock characteristics of quartz rich sandstones. Chondrite-normalized REE patterns with LREE enrichment and a strong negative Eu anomaly are also attributed to felsic source rock characteristics for these sandstones. The source rocks identified are granite and gneiss of the Bastar craton. Minor amounts may have been derived from older supracrustals of the Bastar craton. However, the major element data of the Paleoproterozoic Sakoli schists when compared with those of the Neoproterozoic sandstones indicate that the schists were derived from a mafic source and deposited in an active continental margin tectonic setting. There is, however, little difference in CIA values between the Paleoproterozoic Sakoli schists and Neoproterozoic sandstones, indicating prevailing of similar (moderate-intense) weathering conditions throughout the Proterozoic in the Bastar craton. Our study also suggests a change in the provenance and tectonic setting of deposition of sediments from dominantly a mafic source and an active continental margin in the Paleoproterozoic to dominantly granite and gneiss (felsic source) and a passive continental margin in the Neoproterozoic in the Bastar craton.