Abstract

The Cuddapah basin in southern India, consisting of the Palnad, Srisailam, Kurnool and Papaghni sub-basins, contains unmetamorphosed and undeformed sediments deposited during a long span of time in the Proterozoic. In the absence of robust age constraints, there is considerable confusion regarding the relative timing of sedimentation in these sub-basins. In this study, U–Pb isotopic dating of zircon and U–Th–Pbtotal dating of monazite and uraninite from the gritty quartzite that supposedly belongs to the formation Banganapalle Quartzite have been used to constrain the beginning of sedimentation in the Palnad sub-basin. Magmatic and detrital zircons recording an age of 2.53 Ga indicate that the sediments were derived from the granitic basement or similar sources and were deposited after 2.53 Ga. Hydrothermally altered zircons both in the basement and the cover provide concordant ages of 2.32 and 2.12 Ga and date two major hydrothermal events. Thus, the gritty quartzite must have been deposited sometime between 2.53 and 2.12 Ga and represents the earliest sediments in the Cuddapah basin. Monazite and uraninite give a wide spectrum of ages between 2.5 Ga and 150 Ma, which indicates several pulses of hydrothermal activity over a considerable time span, both in the basement granite and the overlying quartzite. The new age constraints suggest that the gritty quartzite may be stratigraphically equivalent to the Gulcheru Quartzite that is the oldest unit in the Cuddapah basin, and that a sedimentary/erosional hiatus exists above it.

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