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Abstract

The Bhatwari Gneiss of Bhagirathi Valley in the Garhwal Himalaya is a Paleoproterozoic crystalline rock from the Inner Lesser Himalayan Sequence. On the basis of field and petrographic analyses, we have classified the Bhatwari Gneiss into two parts: the Lower Bhatwari Gneiss (LBG) and the Upper Bhatwari Gneiss (UBG). The geochemical signatures of these rocks suggest a monzonitic protolith for the LBG and a granitic protolith for the UBG. The UBG has a calc-alkaline S-type granitoid protolith, whereas the LBG has an alkaline I-type granitoid protolith; the UBG is more fractionated. The trace element concentrations suggest a volcanic arc setting for the LBG and a within-plate setting for the UBG. The U–Pb geochronology of one sample from the LBG gives an upper intercept age of 1988 ± 12 Ma (n = 10, MSWD = 2.5). One sample from the UBG gives an upper intercept age of 1895 ± 22 Ma (n = 15, MSWD = 0.82), whereas another sample does not give any upper intercept age, but indicates magmatism from c. 1940 to 1840 Ma. Based on these ages, we infer that the Bhatwari Gneiss has evolved due to arc magmatism and related back-arc rifting over a time period of c. 100 Ma during the Proterozoic. This arc magmatism is related to the formation of the Columbia supercontinent.

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