The Blaini Formation of the Lesser Himalaya, NW India
James L. Etienne, Philip A. Allen, Erwan le Guerroué, Larry Heaman, Sumit K. Ghosh, Rafique Islam, 2011. "The Blaini Formation of the Lesser Himalaya, NW India", The Geological Record of Neoproterozoic Glaciations, Emmanuelle Arnaud, Galen P. Halverson, Graham Shields-Zhou
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Neoproterozoic glaciogenic deposits crop out widely across the Lesser Himalaya fold and thrust belt in NW India. Underlain by the siliciclastic Simla and Jaunsar Groups, the Blaini Formation (Fm.) includes at least two thick and regionally extensive diamictite units, separated by siliciclastics and argillites and capped by a pink microcrystalline dolomite. A glaciogenic origin is supported by the presence of relatively abundant striated clasts and the local preservation of polished and striated pavement on underlying Simla Group clastics. The cap dolostone is isotopically light with respect to both 13C and 18O, which show strong covariance. The Blaini is ubiquitously deformed, incorporated in regional-scale folds and thrusts, and exhibits locally intensive intra-formational deformation. Until recently, geochronological constraints have remained poor, but new detrital zircon ages from diamictite samples provide a maximum age limit of 692±18 Ma (207Pb/206Pb). Reliable palaeomagnetic data are required to constrain the position of this important passive continental margin in palaeogeographical reconstructions.
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In recent years, interest in Neoproterozoic glaciations has grown as their pivotal role in Earth system evolution has become increasingly clear. One of the main goals of the IGCP Project No. 512 was to produce a synthesis of newly available information on Neoproterozoic successions worldwide similar in format to Hambrey & Harland’s (1981) Earth’s pre-Pleistocene Glacial Record. This Memoir therefore consists of a series of overview chapters followed by site-specific chapters. The overview chapters cover key topics including the history of research on Neoproterozoic glaciations, identification of glacial deposits, chemostratigraphic techniques and datasets, palaeomagnetism, biostratigraphy, geochronology and climate modelling. The site specific chapters for 60 successions worldwide include reviews of the history of research on these rocks and up-to-date syntheses of the structural framework, tectonic setting, palaeomagnetic and geochronological constraints, physical, biological, and chemical stratigraphy, and descriptions of the glaciogenic and associated strata, including economic deposits.