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Cretaceous Lime Stones

Cretaceous Lime Stones

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Gondwana Research 2004, v. 7(2), pp. 527-537.
Gondwana Research 2004, v. 7(2), pp. 527-537.

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Published by: John S. Armstrong-Altrin on Dec 28, 2008
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Gondwana Research, V. 7, No. 2, pp. 527-537.© 2004 International Association for Gondwana Research, Japan. ISSN: 1342-937X 
GondwanaResearch
GR
Carbon and Oxygen Isotopic Signatures in Albian-DanianLimestones of Cauvery Basin, Southeastern India
 J. Madhavaraju
1*
, I. Kolosov
2
, D. Buhlak
2
, J.S. Armstrong-Altrin
3
, S. Ramasamy
1
and S.P. Mohan
1
1
Department of Geology, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Madras, Guindy Campus, Chennai 600 025,India.
*
E-mail: jmadhavaraju@yahoo.com
2
Institute of Geological Sciences, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Kuprevich Street 7, 220141 Minsk, Republic of Belarus
3
Centro de Investigación en Energía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Priv.Xochicalco s/n, Col.Centro, Apartado Postal 34, Temixco, Morelos 62580, México(Manuscript received October 25, 2002; accepted September 17, 2003)
 Abstract
The Albian-Danian limestones of Cauvery Basin show a wide range of d
13
C and d
18
O
 
 values (13.2 to +1.1 and 9.0 to 2.5, respectively). The cement samples show negative carbon and oxygen isotope values (-18.9 to -3.9 and-9.0 to -4.3, respectively). The petrographic study reveals the presence of algae, molluscs, bryozoans, foraminifersand ostracods as major framework constituents. The limestones have microspar and equant sparry calcite cements. Thepore spaces and vugs are filled with sparry calcite cement. The bivariate plot of 
δ
13
C and
δ
18
O suggests that most of thesamples fall in the freshwater limestone and meteoric field, while few samples fall in the marine limestone and soilcalcite fields. The presence of sparry calcite cement, together with negative carbon and oxygen isotope values, indicatesthat these limestones have undergone meteoric diagenesis.
Key words:
C- and O-
 
isotopes, limestone, diagenesis, Cauvery Basin, Southeastern India.
Introduction
The carbon and oxygen isotopic composition of theskeletal carbonate sediments reflect the physico-chemicalproperties of the waters in which the organisms grow(Keith et al., 1964; Morrison and Brand, 1986) and alsoprovide information regarding the diagenetic processesand environments, which initiate the conversion of skeletalcarbonates into limestones (Jenkyns et al., 1994). It hasbeen proved by many studies, that the carbon and oxygenisotopic composition of carbonate rocks provide usefulinformation regarding physico-chemical conditions of precipitation, paleoclimate, paleo-oceanographicconditions, paleoecology and diagenetic conditions (Jamesand Choquette, 1984; Wright, 1990). Because, the Carbonisotopic composition in carbonate minerals are mainly identified by the
δ
13
C values of bi-carbonate/carbonateions in the water, whereas the
δ
18
O values are largely influenced by the isotopic composition of water andtemperature of precipitation.Further more, carbon isotopic studies constitute animportant tool to reconstruct the paleoenvironmentalconditions. The carbonate rocks deposited in marineenvironments tend to record the carbon isotopiccomposition of the ocean water (Scholle and Arthur,1980). Similarly, the oxygen isotope studies fromforaminifers and the paleobotanical record provide strongevidence that the Cretaceous period was substantially  warmer than today (Crowley and North, 1991; Spicer andCorfield, 1992). Paleoclimatic conditions for a given regioncan be determined by studying temporal changes of meteoric diagenesis within a single lithology, particularly limestone, and the geochemical signature of the associateddiagenetic products (James and Choquette, 1984). Stableisotope data from shallow-burial meteoric calcite cement will be more useful to distinguish sequence-specificmeteoric calcite line (invariant
δ
18
O and variable
δ
13
C values; Lohmann, 1988). The calcite cements, which areuseful for determining a meteoric calcite line, are mainly precipitated in isotopic equilibrium with local meteoric waters and these data can be used to estimate the oxygenisotopic composition of local meteoric waters duringdiagenesis (Smith and Dorobek, 1993). It appears thatthe carbon and oxygen isotope composition of carbonaterocks is useful for recognizing the diagenetic and sea level
 
528
Gondwana Research, V. 7, No. 2, 2004
J. MADHAVARAJU ET AL.
history of a sedimentary basin. A systematic study hasbeen undertaken in this work to describe the possiblereasons for the variations in carbon and oxygen isotopesand to interpret the diagenetic history by using thepetrography of whole rock and calcite cement samples of  Albian-Danian age limestones of Cauvery Basin.
Geology and Stratigraphy
The Cauvery Basin has been classified as a pericratonicrift basin formed along the eastern continental margin of Peninsular India (Sastri et al., 1981; Biswas et al., 1993).The block faulted architecture exhibited brittleaccommodation of the stress regime, particularly duringthe initial phase of the Early Cretaceous period (Sastri etal., 1981; Prabhakar and Zutshi, 1993). The exposuresof sedimentary rocks has been identified in five areas of Cauvery Basin viz. i) Pondicherry, ii) Vridhachalam, iii) Ariyalur, iv) Tanjore and v) Sivaganga. Among these, thesedimentary rocks are well developed in the Ariyalur area.Detailed and systematic work on these sedimentary rocks were carried out by Blanford (1862), who divided the various rock types into three distinct group i.e. i) Uttattur,ii) Trichinopoly and iii) Ariyalur. Numbers of lithostratigraphic classifications were proposed by many  workers (e.g., Srivastava and Tewari, 1967; Banerji, 1972;Sastry et al. 1972; Sundaram and Rao, 1986; Ramasamy and Banerji, 1991; Sundaram et al., 2001). In this study, we have followed the lithostratigraphic classificationsproposed by Sastry et al. (1972) and Sundaram et al.(2001). The distribution of rocks from different litho unitsare shown in Fig.1. Detailed lithostratigraphicclassification and facies mosaic of the sedimentary rocksare given in Fig. 2.
Uttattur Group
Uttatur Group has been divided into four distinctformations viz. i) Terani Formation, ii) ArogyapuramFormation, iii) Dalmiapuram Formation and iv) KaraiFormation (Sundaram et al., 2001). The Dalmiapuramand Karai Formations comprise limestone deposits.Based on the lithology, the Dalmiapuram Formation isdivided into two distinct members i.e. lower grey shalemember and upper limestone member. The limestonesare biohermal and biostromal in nature. The biohermallimestone is around 20-25 m thick, massive, hard, pink tobuff red colour and has a stromatactis structure (Yadagiriand Govindan, 2000). The biostromal limestone is softand friable and off-white to brownish yellow in colour.The presence of calcareous algae, bryozoan and coralfragments in the biohermal limestone suggests a shallowmarine environment (Banerji et al., 1996). The biostromallimestone contains abundant benthic foraminifers clearly indicating that the bedded limestone was deposited underdeeper shelf conditions with water column more than 50m (Ramasamy and Banerji, 1991; Ramasamy et al., 1995).Based on foraminifers and ammonites, an Early to Middle Albian age has been assigned for the DalmiapuramFormation (Ramasamy and Banerji, 1991).Karai Formation mainly consists of clastic-carbonateunits, which are exposed as a linear, north-south belt. It isdivided into two members i.e. Odium member andKunnam member (Sundaram and Rao, 1986). TheKunnam member is characterised by grey sandy clay beds,siltstone and fine grained sandstone, which is alternate with thin band of argillaceous limestone (Sundaram andRao, 1986). The limestone bands are less than 1 m thick.The Karai Formation is considered to represent an offshore,highstand depositional environment continuing thetransgressive trend apparent for the underlying DalmiapuramFormation (Sundaram et al., 2001). Based on the indexfossils (foraminifers) a Late Albian-Early Turonian age hasbeen assigned (Ramasamy and Banerji, 1991).
Trichinopoly Group
This group is divided into Kulakkalnattam and AnaipadiFormations (Sundaram and Rao, 1986). KulakkalnattamFormation mainly comprises of basal sandstone, pebbly sandstone, coarse grained calcareous sandstone, shale andshell limestone. The limestone is 1 to 2 m thick, compact,grey, shell rich and is characterised by the presence of molluscan shells. Based on the diagnostic ammonite fossils,middle Turonian to Santonian age has been assigned forthe Trichinopoly Group.
 Ariyalur Group
The Ariyalur Group has a conformable relationship withthe Trichinopoly Group but oversteps the basement alongits southern part, between Kilapaluvur and Vettriyur villages. It is well exposed in the vicinity of the Ariyalurarea. This group has been divided into four formationsi.e. i) Sillakkudi, ii) Kallankurichchi, iii) Ottakkovil andiv) Kallamedu (Sastry et al., 1972). The KallankurichchiFormation exhibits the considerable amount of limestonedeposits.Kallankurichchi Formation is lithologically divided intotwo units i.e. i) clastic unit and ii) carbonate unit (Sastry et al., 1972). The fine to medium grained, calcareous,fossiliferous and pale green to yellowish brown sandstone was deposited in a near shore environment (Sundaramand Rao, 1986; Madhavaraju, 1996; Madhavaraju andRamasamy, 1999a, b; Sundaram et al., 2001). Thelimestones mainly consist of sandy fossiliferous limestone,fossiliferous limestone and marl. The limestones are off- white to orange yellow in colour, massive to thick beddedand interbedded with marl. The occurrence of 
 
529
Gondwana Research, V. 7, No. 2, 2004
C- AND O-ISOTOPES IN LIMESTONES FROM CAUVERY BASINFig. 1.Geological map of the Ariyalurarea showing the distribution of Cretaceous and Paleocene rocks(modified after Sundaram et al.2001).
Goupillaudina daguini, Siderolites calcitrapoides
and
 Lepidorbitoides
sp. cf.
L.socialis
in the KallankurichchiFormation suggests Late Campanian and Early Maastrichtian age (Hart et al., 2001). The presence of Orbitoids with other larger foraminifers suggests that theselimestones were deposited under shallow marinedepositional environment (Sastry et al., 1972; Sundaramand Rao, 1986; Madhavaraju and Ramasamy, 1999a).
 Niniyur Formation
Sundaram and Rao (1986) placed the Niniyur Formation(Paleocene) under the Ariyalur Group whereas most of the authors (Sastry et al. 1972; Madhavaraju, 1996;Madhavaraju and Ramasamy, 1999a, b) proposed separatestatus for Niniyur Formation and they placedthe Niniyur Formation above the Ariyalur Group. It ismainly composed of sandstone, thick limestone beds

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