ARCHAEAN SUCESSION OF INDIA [TYPE AREA KARNATAKA] Introduction: The term Archaean was introduced by J.

D Dana for the ancient rock succession of Canadian Shield. Later this succession was divided into two units. The lower and the older unit made up of highly deformed and metamorphosed rocks referred to as Archaean group. The upper unit consisting of less deformed and less metamorphosed rock succession was named as the “Proterozoic Group”. The term Pre-Cambrian was rather loosely used for all rock formations older than Cambrian age. But, now it is restricted to the Proterozoic Group only and the Archaean are excluded from the definition of the Pre-Cambrians. Archaean are the oldest known rocks on the earth’s surface dating back to about 3600my before present. These are found to be occurring in the central portions of all the shield areas of the world and form the basement for all the stratified formations of younger ages. These rocks are totally “azoic”, meaning unfossiliferous. They also, form the cores of the great mountain chains of the world. These rocks being the most ancient have undergone thorough recrystallization due to intense metamorphism and have also, suffered multiple episodes of structural deformation. As a result of this the rocks show well-defined foliated structures i.e. gneissosity and schistocity and at places even granular nature like igneous rocks i.e. granulose structure. Hence these rocks are often referred as ancient recrystalline rocks. They are highly folded and faulted due to multiple episodes of structural events. They are also intruded by numerous plutonic igneous bodies. All these above cited events have rendered these rocks extremely complex. For this reason the Archaean are called “Basement Complexes or Fundamental Complexes”. Origin or Mode of formation of Archaean: The rocks of Archaean age are structurally disturbed and metamorphosed to such an extent that most of their original characters are more or less destroyed or altered. Hence, it is difficult to decipher their mode of formation properly. The possible mode of formation of various units making up the Archaean is as follows. 1. The lowest stage has a strong influence of basic rocks. This unit is believed to represent the relics of the primordial crust i.e. the part of the first formed crust of the earth resulting through the consolidation of the gaseous or molten planet. These rocks are preserved as undigested masses or “xenoliths” in a vast country of granitic gneisses. 2. The granitic gneisses forming the largest masses of Archaean were formed either by differentiation of the original basaltic magma or by metasomatic transformation of preexisting rocks. 3. At the third stage protogeosynclines were formed over the basement of granitic rocks. A thick pile of sedimentary rocks along with the products of submarine volcanic outbursts were deposited in these geosynclines. The composition of hydrosphere and atmosphere were probably much different than present day. These volcano sediments contain some of the richest

deposits of iron and manganese that were deposited as chemical precipitates [chemogenic sediments]. 4. These protogeosynclines were subjected to orogenic movements and granitic plutons were emplaced in them. As a result of this stage, conspicuous fold mountain ranges came into existence. This fourth event marked the closure of the Archaean era. The four major units of Archaean represent each of these four events. Distribution of Archaean in India: The various units of Archaean rocks form an enormous extent of the surface of India. They cover nearly two thirds of the peninsular India. They are very well developed in south India, Aravalli hill ranges of Rajasthan, Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh, Singhbhum area of Bihar and Orissa and also along the Eastern Ghats. In the extra-Peninsular India, the Archaean rocks occur along the whole length of the Himalayan Mountain forming the bulk of the high ranges. This portion of the Himalayas is known as “Central Crystalline axis” and runs as a broad central zone from Kashmir to Assam. Petrology of the Archaean system: In all the localities of occurrence of Archaean rocks of India, the most common rock is gneiss. This rock characteristically shows constant banded and foliated structure i.e. gneissosity. The mineral composition varies from granitic to gabbroic. There also, is a wide variation in fineness and thickness of layers. The grain size also varies from fine felsitic to coarse crystalline. The rock is called gneiss regardless of the mineral composition, but owing to prevailing gneissose structure. The minerals present in common granitic gneiss is orthoclase, oligoclase, microcline, quartz, muscovite, biotite, hornblende etc with numerous minor accessories minerals. The next abundant rock in Archaean is schists showing recrystallised foliaceous structure. Mica schists are most common and other varieties hornblende, talc, chlorite, epidote, sillimanite and graphite. In addition to these most common rocks, the Archaean also contain bands layers and lenses of slates, phyllites, granulites, marbles, dolomites and banded ferruginous quartzites etc. The Archaean rocks generally have undergone high-grade regional or dynamic metamorphism since they have witnessed three to four cycles of orogenic movements and also igneous emplacements. At the same time there are also some areas, which show feeble [lowgrade] metamorphism. Thus, these rocks show all variations from low-grade regional metamorphism to high-grade plutonic metamorphism. Archaean succession of Karnataka: Introduction: The geological history of Karnataka is largely confined to the oldest eras, the Archaean and the Proterozoic. The rest of the periods from Cambrian to Recent are hardly represented except some minor sediments of recent age exposed along the

coastal margin to the west. A substantial part of the north Karnataka is covered by Deccan traps, representing a phenomenal outburst of volcanic activity that occurred at the dawn of the Cenozoic era. The Karnataka region forms the type area for the study of Archaean rocks. For the first time R.Bruce Foot studied this region in the last century. Mode of occurrence of Archeans of Karnataka: The type area of Archaean is made up mainly of gneisses granites and schists. Of these, gneisses occupy the largest area. The schists occur as bands within the vast country of gneisses. There are about eleven large schists bands reported along with a number of small schistose outcrops. The schistose rocks are isoclinally folded exhibiting a steep dip towards east. The region is nearly peneplain due to prolonged erosion. Only the synclinal parts of the isoclinal folds could survive through the denudation and these exists here and there within the vast stretch of gneissose country rocks. The regional strike of schistose rocks is north northwest to southsoutheast in the northern region and this trend changes over to north south and even to northeast southwest near the southern border of the state. Recently distinction has being made between various schistose bands and some have being assigned an older age then the gneisses. Classification Number of workers have studied these Archaean rocks of Karnataka and have suggested different schemes of classification and succession. Views drastically differ regarding their origin and hence order of superposition of these rocks. Earlier workers regarded the entire succession as of igneous origin. Later these views were modified in the course of time and at least some members of this succession were assigned a sedimentary origin. Following are the few attempts of classification of Archaean of Karnataka. Classification by W.F. Schmith This is one of the earliest attempts and considers Dharwar system as one of the oldest formation of Karnataka. In his opinion the schists and gneisses have being produced due to metamorphism of preexisting igneous country rocks. Schmith classified the Dharwar system on the basis of degree of metamorphism. He has divided the dharwar system into lower hornblendic division made up of hornblende schist, calc granulites and some magnetite. The upper chloritic division consists of chlorite and mica schists, quartzites, marbles, conglomerates, banded ferruginous quartzites etc.

Succession of Archaean according to Schmith is as follows. Pre Cambrian Basic dykes --------------------- Eparchaean interval -----------------Felsite and porphyry dykes Closepet Granite ARCHAEANS Charnockites Peninsular Gneiss Champion Gneiss ---------------------- Eruptive Unconformity ----------------Upper Chloritic Division Dharwar system Lower Hornblendic Division Classification by B Rama Rao: After a careful and detailed fieldwork B Rama Rao concluded that the Dharwarian schists were originally sedimentary rocks. His field observations included remnants of current bedding, ripple marks, graded bedding and similar sedimentary structures partially obliterated by the process of metamorphism and diastrophism. The interbedded lava flows suggest the volcanic eruption in submarine conditions. On the basis of conglomerate horizons he divided the Dharwarian succession into three divisions. Succession of Archaean according to B. Rama Rao is as follows: --------------------- Eparchaean Interval ----------------Felsite porphyry dykes Closepet Granite Charnockites Archaean Peninsular Gneisses Champion Gneisses Upper Dharwars Dharwar System Middle Dharwars Lower Dharwars -------------------- Base not known ---------------Classification by Radhakrishnan and Vasudev: This is more recent and accepted classification because it is based on radiometric age data of various units and also on degree of metamorphism. In this classification distinction is made between older schistose rocks and younger schistose rocks. Dharwar Supergroup is considered as metamorphosed sediments that were deposited in basins formed over the basement of peninsular gneiss and also of older schistose rocks. Both older and younger schistose rocks are renamed as Greenstones.

Succession of Archaean according to Radhakrishnan and Vasudev is as follows: Radiometric age 2100my 2380 my Felsite and porphyry dykes Closepet Granite Chitradurga Group – Greenschist facies of metamorphism and gentle to strong deformation. -------------------- Unconformity --------------------------Dharwar Supergroup Or Younger Greenstones Bababudan Group – Greenschist to lower amphibolite facies of metamorphism --------------------- Unconformity -------------------2600 my Peninsular Gneissic Complex – Migmatitic and amphibolite facies of metamorphism. 3200 my Sargur Schist Belt – Upper amphibolite to OR granulite facies of Older Greenstones metamorphism. -------------------------- Basement not known ---------------------Lithology: Lithology of various units of Archaean of Karnataka is as follows Sargur schist Belt or Lower Greenstones: The oldest rocks dated so far in Karnataka area are grey gneisses and included schists. These schistose bands probably represent the relics of the primordial crust i.e. the remains of the first formed earths crust. The rocks of these schsist belts contain usually high magnesium. The name “ancient Supracrustal” is given to these intensely metamorphosed remnants, which occur within the grey gneisses as enclaves. In older literature the same has been called “Sargur Schist Belts”. These are regarded as metamorphosed remnants of granulitic rocks with Kyanite, Sillimanite, Graphite and other minerals suggestive of intense thermal metamorphism. These enclaves along with enclosing gneisses are together called ancient supracrustals since these together are forming the basement for a well developed group of schistose rocks of younger age i.e. ‘Dharwar Schist Belt”. Older Gneissic Complex: Large part of Karnataka and the Indian peninsula in general are covered by granites and gneisses of differing ages. A variety of age determination values ranging from 3400 to 2000my have been obtained for these rocks of gneissic complex. Majority of ages determined for these rocks lying within the Archaean nucleus have given the age values around 3000my suggesting a major event of crust forming around this period. These gneisses have been described in earlier literature

as “Peninsular Gneisses”. It is infact a complex containing in it several cycles of schist development, granitic intrusion and migmatitic transformation. This is largely composed of amphibolite facies of gneisses of Tonalite-Granodiorite composition. These gneisses show Na2O /K2O ratio more than ONE while younger complexes are potassic in nature with Na2O/K2O ratio less than ONE. Dharwars or Younger Schist Belt: In recent literature these formations are described as “Younger Greenstones”. These are prominent schistose rocks of Karnataka and have been given a Supergroup status. They are Archaean in age and belong to the age group of 2900 to 2600 my. Recent studies consider these rocks as representing the transition from Archaeozoic to Proterozoic, and also suggest that the name “Dharwar Type” should be restricted to “Karnataka Craton” alone. Two main divisions are recognized in this Supergroup. The older of the two is mainly igneous in character and is named as “Bababudan Group” and hosts the main Iron Ore Formation. This group is made up of alternating bands of basalt and quartzites. On top is the banded Iron Formation. These rocks are comparatively more metamorphosed than the upper formations. The group above the Bababudan Group is called the “Chitradurga Group”. This is the more extensive group of schistose rocks largely sedimentary in character composed of conglomerates, quartzites, limestones, greywackes and associated magniferous and ferruginous cherts. This formation is given the name “Chitradurga Group” after the township of Chitradurga in Karnataka. The most recent account of the mode of formation of the “Dharwar Supergroup” which differs from the earlier views is as follows. Since recently some clear-cut evidences of biogenic structures have been found in younger greenstones, these are thought to mark a transition period from Archaean to Proterozoic era. The end of earlier greenstone cycle [Sargur schists] witnessed the invasion of Tonalite-granodiorite material [Peninsular Gneiss] on a very large scale leading to the formation of a relatively thick Sialic crust of continental dimension. Folding, faulting and rifting of this old crust gave rise to long linear and oval-shaped basins. In these basins were deposited thick series of volcanic products and sediments. By 2600my deposition within these linear basins had come to an end. The cratonic blocks made up of older gneisses lying on either sides of the depositional basins converged, thereby compressing and telescoping the volcanic and sedimentary material [volcano-sediments] accumulated in these basins, to form subparallel linear belts of schist’s and gneisses. Actually, these linear schist belts represent the sites of Archaean crustal sutures. Younger [Clospet] Granites: A striking feature in the geological map of Karnataka is the occurrence of a long linear belt of a granitic body extending in NS direction for nearly 500 km keeping an average width of 20 kms. This granitic body runs more or less parallel to schist

belts. This granitic batholithic body demarcates the Archaean nucleus of Karnataka made up of older gneisses and schists lying on the west form the younger block to the east. The trend of these granites probably marks the line of collision between two distinct blocks and probably formed a major shear- zone. This belt is not a single mass of granite but a cluster of individual plutons of differing sizes, emplaced all along the collision zone. The most characteristic rock type is coarse-grained porphyritic granite with large sized phenocryst of pink or grey potash feldspars. These have been named after the town of Closepet [Present day Ramnagaram]. These are radiometrically dated as 2528+- 5 my. These are the youngest unit of the Archaean complex of Karnataka, hence known as younger granites. These granites are believed to have originated by both igneous intrusion and also by metasomatic alteration. There is still a considerable controversy regarding the origin of these granitic bodies. The great era of Archaean came to an end with a large-scale orogenic activity. As a result, Dharwarians were isoclinally folded and converted into one of the largest and loftiest mountain chains. These ranges were subjected to prolonged erosion and have been peneplained before the sedimentary basin came into existence during the Proterozoic era. This time period of erosion and non-deposition is known as “Eparchaean Unconformity” in the Indian startigraphy. *************************