Open Journal of Geology, 2012, 2, 260-270 Published Online October 2012 (
Petrofacies Evolution of Bayana Basin Sandstones of
Mesoproterozoic Delhi Supergroup, Bharatpur District,
Rajasthan, Northwestern India
Abul Hasnat Masood Ahmad1, Chayanika Saikia2, Syed Mohammad Wasim3
1Department of Geology, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India
2Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), Delhi, India
3Department of Geology, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India
Received June 2, 2012; revised June 29, 2012; accepted July 27, 2012
The paper embodies results of petrofacies, detrital mineralogy and textural aspects of Bayana Basin sandstones of the
Delhi Supergroup. These sandstones consisting of various types of quartz, feldspar, mica, rock fragments and heavy
minerals are medium to fine grained and moderately well sorted. These sediments are generally subangular to sub-
rounded with low sphericity. Various factors responsible for modification of the original detrital composition of the
sandstones have been critically examined. Distance of transport is one of the factors which control the composition at
the time of deposition. The plots of petrofacies in QtñFñL, QmñFñLt, QpñLvñLs and QmñPñK ternary diagrams sug-
gest mainly basement uplift source (Craton interior) in a rifted continental margin basin setting, which has also received
sediment input from recycled orogen provenance.
Keywords: Petrofacies Evolution; Bayana Basin; Mesoproterozoic; Bharatpur District (India)
1. Introduction
The relationship between plate tectonics and sandstone
composition has been the subject of intensive research
and discussion over the last three decades. Many studies
have pointed to an intimate relationship between detrital
sand composition and tectonic setting [1-7].
However, the correlation between tectonic setting and
sandstone petrofacies may not always be valid, due to
modification of sandstone compositions by recycling,
transport and post depositional processes. The most no-
table modifying agents are intense chemical weathering
under a tropical humid climate and low relief [8-10],
differential abrasion during pre-depositional and pre-
burial transport [12,13] and diagenesis [14]. Sediment
recycling [11], mixing of detritus derived from two
sources, temporal changes in tectonic style [15], and long
sediment transport across the mother plate to tectonically
alien Basins also hinder the identification of generic tec-
tonic setting and provenance. This paper attempts to the
study petrofacies of the Bayana Basin sandstones of
Bharatpur District in relation to depositional environ-
ments. The petrofacies of this Basin is interpreted in the
light of known evolution of th e Aravalli Craton, Keeping
in view the various modifying factors that control and
influence the original detrital compositions.
2. Geological Setting
The studied Bayana Basin is co mposed of a 3000 m thick
sequence of conglomerate, sandstone, shale, basal mafic
volcanic flows and valcanoclastics. The Basin has been
subjected to a three-tier classification, mainly on the ba-
sis of two unconformities. The infillin gs of this Basin are
represented by metasedimentary rocks and metavolcanics
belonging to Mesoproterozoic Delhi Supergroup which
has a faulted contact with Pre-Delhi rocks along its
south-eastern fringe (Figures 1 and 2). Stratigraphically,
the area is divisible into eight Formations that are form
the oldest to youngest, the Nithar, Jahaj—Govindpura
Volcanics, Jogipura, Badalgarh, Bayana, Damdama, (Al-
war group), Kushalgarh and Weir (Ajabga rh group ) [16].
3. Facies Analysis
A total of fourteen lithofacies from seven Mesoprotozoic
Formations of the Bayana Basin have been recognized on
the basis of lithology and sedimentary structures. Four
distinct facies assemblages have been identified based on
the association of lithofacies, textural characteristics,
*Corresponding a uthor.
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A. H. M. AHMAD ET AL. 261
00 400km
Figure 1. Simplified tectonic map of Aravalli Mountain Range, NW Indian Shied (after Gupta et al., 1980).
sedimentary structures and environment of deposition.
The four main facies assemblage ascribed to tidally in
fluenced fluvial deposition (Facies Association A), tidal
flat deposition (Facies Association B), tidal channel de-
position (Facies Association C) and wave & storm domi-
nated shoreface deposition (Facies Associatio n D). These
contrasting palaeoenvironmental settings suggest sedi-
mentation at a Basin margin. Sediments were deposited
in fluvial as well as shallow marine environments. Flu-
vial deposits are limited, but tidal deposits are region-
ally extensive. Sediments accumulated in a tide domi-
nated estuary, on an intertidal flat, in tidal channel, in
wave dominated shallow water environment, as well as
in a storm dominated upper to lower shoreface. Evidence
of alternate episodes of transgression and regression is
well documented in the study area [17]. Also, primary
sedimentary structures are mostly well preserved. Al-
though interpretation of tidal regime in terms of a macro,
meso or micro-tidal range is not easy, the sandstones
show many features which are indicative of macro-tidal
environment. The 85 m thick outcrop exposed at the
Bayana locality represents fluvial deposits modified by
tidal processes in tidal estuary settings, indicatin g that the
coastline was macro tidal (>4 m), at least for some pe-
riods. Other feature suggestive of macro-tidal are abun-
dant parallel laminated sandstone facies, occasional oc-
currences of herring-bone cross-bedding, and wavy bed-
ding as well as interbedded sndstone-shale sequences. a
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. OJG
Figure 2. Geological map of Bayana Basin (after Singh, 1982).
The Presence of hummocky cross-bedded sandstones
suggests that the shoreface sediments of the Bayana
Formation are storm-dominated. Overall, studieds sug-
gest that the Bayana Basin sediments supplied during
episodic transgressive and regressive phases were modi-
fied by tidal processes and later by wave and storm-
dominated processes in a shallow marine environment
(Figure 3).
4. Petrography
The textural and compositional study is based on 106
samples. The samples were selected in such a way that
lateral and vertical variations within all formations are
uniformly controlled. For quantitative analysis about 300 -
400 points per thin section were counted for determin-
ing the modal composition of rocks under investigation.
The graphic mean (Mz) of various samples range from
1.03 to 3.95, average 1.97 and most of the samples are
medium grained. Inclusive graphic standard deviation (σI)
values ranges from 0.41 to 1.29, average 0.63. The sand-
stones are mostly moderately well sorted to moderately
sorted. The mean roundness of the individual samples
ranges from 0.26 to 0.46, average 0.35; in most samples
the majority of the grains are subangular to sub rounded.
The distribution of roundness in individual samples is
invariably unimodal with subrounded as the modal class.
The mean grain sphericity values range from 0.36 to 0.68,
average 0.54. The studied sandstones are texturally sub-
mature (Table 1).
The sandstones are mainly composed of several varie-
ties of quartz followed by feldspars, rock fragments,
mica and heavy minerals. The average detrital minera-
logy in the studied sandstones includes monocrystalline
quartz (84.69%), polycrystalline recrystallized meta-
morphic quartz (4.18%), stretched metamorphic quartz
(2.36%), feldspar (3.98%), rock fragments (3.43%), mica
(1%), and heavy minerals (0.27%) (Table 2). The indi-
vidual Formation wise studies indicates that most of the
samples fall in quartzarenite field, followed by sub-
litharenite, feldspathic litharenite, arkose and subarkose
5. Factor Controlling Detrital Mineralogy
Distance of transport is one of the factors which control
the composition at the time of deposition. The processes
of mechanical breakdown, abrasion, hydrodynamic sort-
ing during transportation etc. result in compositional ma-
turation of detrital in to more quartzose detrital mode.
The detrital grains of Bayan a Basin sandstones are in the
sand size range and derived from only 100 km distance
from Dausa uplift and Rajputana Craton [17]. Due to
presence of small amount of feldspar and rock fragments
in the studied sandstone, prolonged reworking and pre-
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. OJG
A. H. M. AHMAD ET AL. 263
Figure 3. Diagrammatic representation of depositional environments of Bayana Basin.
Table 1. Textural parameters of Bayana Basin sandstones, Delhi Supregroup, Rajasthan.
Nithar Formation
(Facies Association
A & B)
(No. of Samples 10)
Jahaj-Govin dpura
(Facies Association
(No. of Samples 19)
Jogipura Form ation
(Facies Association
A, B & C)
(No. of Samples 11)
(Facies Association
A & B)
(No. of Samples 13)
Bayana Formation
(Facies Association
A & C)
(No. of Samples 32)
(Facies Association
A, C & D)
(No. of Samples 13)
Weir Formation
(Facies Association
(No. of Sam ples 8)
Range Average Range Average Range AverageRange AverageRange AverageRange Average Range Average
MZ 2.05 - 2. 7 2.3 2.05 - 3.952.2 1.13 - 3.1 1 2.4 1.6 3 - 1. 831.78 1.13 - 2. 391.55 1.03 - 2. 29 1. 72 1.41 - 2.251.87
σI 0.40 - 0. 82 0.64 4. 48 - 1.290.64 0.43 - 0.9 2 0.72 0.43 - 0. 630.51 0.48 - 0.7 70.64 0.58 - 0.8 0 0. 73 0.48 - 0.690.56
MR 0. 35 - 0.46 0.37 0.27 - 0.380.35 0.34 - 0.4 0 0.36 0.28 - 0. 360.34 0.26 - 0. 360.33 0.34 - 0. 37 0. 36 0.34 - 0.370.35
MS 0.36 - 0.50 0.41 0. 55 - 0.620.59 0.49 - 0.6 0 0.55 0.47 - 0. 550.50 0.43 - 0.5 80.49 0.51 - 0.6 8 0. 61 0.53 - 0.620.56
MZ = Graphic mean, σI = Inclusive Gra ph ic Standard deviation, MR = Mea n ro undness, MS = Mean sphericity, TM = Textural maturity, SM = Sub mature.
sence of high gradient stream is quite likely within the
basin. However, this premise doesn’t stand to scrutiny
because rock fragment that could have been destroyed
more easily are more common then feldspars.
The presence of weathered feldspars grains as well as
oversize pores indicates dissolution of detrital grains in
the studied sandstones. The replacement of quarts grains
by iron in some thin section suggests slight modification
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. OJG
CQ = Common quartz, RMQ = Recrystallize metamorphic quartz, SMQ = Stretched metamorphic quartz, CHT = Chert, MC = Mica, P = Plagioclase, O = Orthoclase, M = Microcline, SRF = Sedimentary roc
fragments, MRF = Metamorphic rock fragments, VRF = Volcanic rock fragments, G = Glass, MT = Matrix, H = Heavy.
Table 2. Range and average of mineralogical composition of Bayana Basin sandstones, Delhi Supergroup, Rajasthan.
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A. H. M. AHMAD ET AL. 265
of the composition of the sandstone. The study of grain
contacts of the Bayana Basin sandstones indicates that
the sandstones are subjected to compaction during burial
and their original texture and fabric slightly modified by
the process o f comp os ition.
6. Tectono—Provenance
1) Four triangular diagrams, QtñFñL, QmñFñLt, Qpñ-
LvñLs and QmñPñK were used in this study (Table 3).
Both QtñFñL and QmñFñLt Plots show full grain popu-
lations, but with different emphasis. In the QtñFñL plot,
where all quartz grains are plotted together, the emphasis
is on grain stability, and thus on weathering, provenance
relief, and transport mechanism as well as source rocks;
while in QmñFñLt, where all lithic frag- ments are plot-
ted together, the emphasis is shifted to- wards the grain
size of source rock, because fine-grained rocks yield
more lithic fragments in the sand size range. The Qpñ-
LvñLs and QmñPñK plots show only partial grain popu-
lations but reveal the character of polycrystalline and
monocrystalline components of the framework, respec-
2) The study revealed tha t monocrystalline quartz (Qm)
is the dominant mineral in the sand stones. Its percentag es
range from 58.51% to 96.7% (av. 84.69%. Polycrystal-
line quartz (Qp) includes both recrystallized quartz and
stretched metaquartz: the former ranges from 0.3% to
5.54% (av. 4.18%) and latter ranges from 0.1% to 2.1%
(av. 2.36%) of the detrital fraction. The feldspars (F)
occur in small amounts in the sandstones (3.98%). Rock
fragments include shale, siltstone, chert, schist, gneiss,
quartzite and mafic volcanics lithic; their percentages
range from 0.36% to 10.16% (av. 4.18%).
3) Most of the samples of the Bayana Basin sandstones
lay in the continental block provenance field on the Qtñ-
FñL (Figure 4(a)) plot, suggesting contribution from the
craton interior with basement uplift. The remaining of the
samples fall in the recycled orogen provenance which
suggests their derivation from metasedimentary and se-
dimentary rocks that were originally deposited along
former passive continental margins [6,18]. The QmñFñLt
plot (Figure 4(b)) shows that the samples fall in conti-
nental block provenance with little contribution from the
recycled orogen provenance. In the QmñPñK diagram
(Figure 4(d)); the data lie in the continental block pro-
venance reflecting maturity of the sediments and stability
of the source area. The QpñLvñLs plot (Figure 4(c)),
which is based on rock fragments population reveals the
polymineralic nature of the source region and gives a
more resolved picture about the tectonic elements.
4) The plots of Bayana Basin sandstones on QtñFñL
and QmñFñLt diagrams suggest that the detritus of the
sandstones were derived from the granite-gneisses ex-
humed in the craton interior and medium to high grade
metamorphosed supracrustals forming recycled orogen
provenance (Metamorphic quartz, muscovite & biotite,
plagioclase, epido te, magnetite). This suggests derivation
of the sandstone from stable parts of the craton, with
perhaps an equal contribution from a recycled orogen. In
the QpñLvñLs plot, the sample mostly plot in the mixed
orogenic provenance with contributions from both an arc
oro gen source and a fold thrust belt source. Th e Q mñP ñK
diagram suggests the maturity and stability of the source
region. This may have stemmed from a very long period
of tectonic quiescence and mature geomorphology of the
source areas. The composition and maturity of sands is
primarily controlled by the source rock and tectonics, but
secondary processes, such as climate and weathering and
depositional reworking and abrasion, acting singly or in
combinations, tends to destroy th e labile constituents and
produce quartz rich sand. Intense weathering under warm
and humid climates and long residence time in soils may
destroy feldspars and other labile constituents resulting in
high degree of compositional m at uri t y of sediments.
5) The relative abundance of monocrystalline quartz to
that of polycrystalline quartz reflects the maturity of the
sediments, because polycrystalline quartz is eliminated
by recycling and disintegrates in the zone of weathering
as does strained quartz [9]. The sandstones have consi-
derably high percentages of monocrystaline quartz (84.68%)
as compared to polycrystalline quartz (15.32%), which
indicates removal of polycrystalline quartz by weathering
and recycling. The abundance of feldspar also serves as a
guide to determine the maturity index since much of the
feldspar is destroyed by weathering where relief is low
and rainfall high, the occurrence of weathered and fresh
feldspars together may indicates derivation from two
different sources or deep erosion.
6) Considering the regional perspective, Mesopro-
terozoic Delhi Supergroup deposits are wide spread in
outcrop and the subsurface throughout the Aravalli ñ
Delhi mountain belt . The Delhi fold B elt consist s of highly
folded and deformed rocks exhibiting polyphase meta-
morphism of deep water to platformal sediments. Gener-
ally, the mountain belts represent regions where oceans
might have opened and closed, and they are the products
of continental collision [19]. These mountains had been
eroded and had low relief, typical of tectonically stable
cratonic areas. Plate tectonic processes of continental
collision, suturing and consumption of the crust at plate
margins by thrusting or under plating led to crustal
thickening and formation of orogenic belts in Phanero-
zoic and Proterozoic times. Knowledge of crustal struc-
tural and tectonics of the ancient collision belts can lead
to better understanding of the mechanism of crustal
growth processes, provided, later tecton ic activity has not
disturbed the original structure. Rift open ing of the Delhi
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. OJG
Qt = Total quartz, F = Total feldspar, L = Total unstable lithic fragments, Qm = Monocrystalline quartz, Qp = Polycrystalline quartz, Lt = Total lithic fragments, P = Plagioclase, K= Orthoclase & Microcline.
Table 3. Percentages of framework modes of the sandstones of Bayana Basin, Delhi Supergroup, Rajasthan (based on Dickinson, 1985 Classification).
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. OJG
A. H. M. AHMAD ET AL. 267
Figure 4. (a)-(d) Plots of the Bayana Basin sandstones, according to Dickinson (1985).
Basin is now considered as well established [17]. The
cratonic sediments were deposited in a shelf sea during
the initial stages of Basin opening. Delhi Supergroup
rocks were deposited in either fluvial or various coastal
environments. In its northeastern part, the Delhi Basin
exhibits several depositories that are small in size and are
separated from each other by uplands. A series of north
to northeast trending synsedimentary faults have been
recognized [17], which bound the depositories are intra-
basinal faults. A total of 2 35 measur ements of azimuth o f
cross-bedding (both trough and tabular) were collected
from 10 localities belonging to 7 Formations. Paleocur-
rent data in the study area show that sediment dispersal
was multidirectional. Maximum sediments derived from
the Banded Gneissic Complex (BGC) of the Aravalli
Block (AB) and small quantities of sediments derived
from the Bundelkhand Granite ñ Gneiss (BGG) of the
Bundelkhand Block (BB) of the North Indian Craton
(NIC) (Figure 5). It may be inferred that fluvial deposits
were formed in a low-lying stable continental area during
regression while fluvial and shallow marine deposits
were formed in the shelf margin during transgression
[20]. In view of this, it can be considered that sediments
in and around the Banded Gneissic Complex and the
Bundelkhand Granite ñ Gneiss were deposited on a low-
lying landmass that form a stable continental shelf.
7) On the basis of geochemical data, the provenance
analysis suggests that the basin received debris from dif-
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. OJG
Figure 5. Paleocurrent distribution patterns in different formation of Bayana Basin.
ferent sources during its long depositional history. The
sandstone of the Bayana Formation was derived from a
source consisting of granotoids and mafic rocks. The
Damdama and Weir sandstones received debris from a
source comprising granitoids and TTG in different pro-
portions. The sandstones of the Nithar and Badalgarh
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. OJG
A. H. M. AHMAD ET AL. 269
Formations were probably derived from a granite domi-
nated source terrain [11]. A characteristic of source ter-
raines along the suture zones is a large compositional
range of the rocks (e.g. suture zones of Himalaya, Apen -
nines and Pyrenees). However, in the entire suture zone,
sandstones in general are more feldspathic than those of
deposited in other area [21]. Most of foreland Basin
sandstones are fairly uniform in composition [21] re-
flecting dominance of source rocks that are uplifted and
eroded from the thrust sheet and deposited in foreland
basin. The large scale compositional variation of the Ba-
yana sandstones reflects the existence of source terrain of
a similar to suture zones of Himalaya, Apennines and
Pyrenees. Similar types of suture zones are common in
Aravalli ñ Delhi foldbelt [22]. The sand stones of the Ba-
yana Basin exhibit large variation in K2O/Na2O (0.16 -
10.4) and Al2O3/Ca + Na (10 - 112) ratio and their Fe2O3
+ MgO contents are low (0.21 - 11). In general they are
enriched in SiO2 and are significantly depleted in Na2O
and CaO. These are the geochemical characteris tics which
are generally by sedimentary rocks of passive margins
7. Conclusions
a) The Bayana Basin defining eastern most limit of the
great Delhi Basin is a fossil graben with over 3000 m
thick metavolcanics and metasedimentary successions.
Petrographic studies reveal that grains are medium to
fine grained, moderately well sorted, subangular to sub-
rounded and have low sphericity. The framework grains
are mostly quartz and least frequently of feldspar, rock
fragments and heavy minerals. The composite distribu-
tion of cross bedding azimuths aggregated from the study
area indicates dispersal of sediments from four different
directions, indicating multidirectional clastic transport in
offshore, onshore and long shore direction. The source
rocks were most probably BGC and Aravalli Supergroup.
b) The depositional processes and environment have
been employed to categorize four main genetic lithofa-
cies assemblages. Facies assemblage A represents tidally
influenced fluvial deposits. Facies assemble B tidal/inter-
tidal deposits. Facies assemble C represents tidal channel
deposits and facies assemblage D represents wave and
storm dominated shoreface deposits. These contrasting
paleoenvironmental setting suggest deposition at a Basin
margin, through several episodes of transgression and
consecutive regression. Bimodal to quadrimodal distribu-
tion pattern of paleocurrent for different Formations of
Bayana Basin indicate dispersal of sediment by multidi-
rectional currents in nearshore shallow marine environ-
c) The Qt-F-L diagram which emphasized factors con-
trolled by provenance relief, weathering and transport
mechanism is based on total quartzose, feldspar and lith ic
content. Most of the samples lie in continental block
provenance field suggesting contribution from the craton
interior with basement uplift. Rest of the samples fall in
the recycled orogen provenance which suggest their de-
rivation from metasedimentary and sedimentary rocks
that were originally deposited along former passive con-
tinental margins. The Qm-F-Lt plot showed that the
samples fall in continental block provenance with little
contribution from the recycled orogen provenance. In the
Qm-P-K diagram, the data lie in the continental block
provenance reflecting maturity of sediments and stability
of the source area. In Qp-Lv-Ls plot, the sample data
mostly fall in mixed orogenic provenance with contribu-
tion from arc orogen source and fold thrust belt source.
Analysis of data from the plotting of triangular diagram
does not exactly suggest the source interpretation which
is due to weathering and post-diagenetic modification of
the unstable minerals. Considering the analysis of data
plotted on different triangular diagram, a tectonic collage
can be suggested as tectonic setting. This in terpretation is
also supported by the evolutionary history of the Bayana
d) The sandstones are quartzrich, primarily derived
from a granite-gneiss terrain of a craton interior as well
as minor pre-existing sedimentary sequences. The sand-
stones of the Nithar and the Badalgarh Formations had
their source in a granite dominated source terrain.
8. Acknowledgements
The authors gratefully thank the Chairman, Dr. L. A. K.
Rao, Reader, Department of Geology, Aligarh Muslim
University, Aligarh for providing all necessary research
facilities during this work .
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