Abstract:

The discovery of two Early Cretaceous (mid-Valanginian–mid-Aptian range) radiolarian faunal assemblages from ribbon-bedded cherts collected near Photoskar in northern Ladakh, NW India, provides the first robust biostratigraphic age constraints associated with the Spongtang massif. This klippe of relict Neotethyan suprasubduction-zone ophiolitic rocks and related arc volcanic rocks crops out 30 km south of the Indus suture in Ladakh. The radiolarian assemblages, the age assignment of which lies between published radiometric ages, provide new constraints on the evolution of this intra-oceanic island arc system. Critically, from them it can be inferred that the system was appreciably long-lived (Jurassic–Cretaceous) and more continuous than is commonly considered.

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