Charnockitic magmatism in southern India

H. M. Rajesh, M. Santosh

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Abstract

Large charnockite massifs cover a substantial portion of the southern Indian granulite terrain. The older (late Archaean to early Proterozoic) charnockites occur in the northern part and the younger (late Proterozoic) charnockites occur in the southern part of this high-grade terrain. Among these, the older Biligirirangan hill, Shevroy hill and Nilgiri hill massifs are intermediate charnockites, with Pallavaram massif consisting dominantly of felsic charnockites. The charnockite massifs from northern Kerala and Cardamom hill show spatial association of intermediate and felsic charnockites, with the youngest Nagercoil massif consisting of felsic charnockites. Their igneous parentage is evident from a combination of features including field relations, mineralogy, petrography, thermobarometry, as well as distinct chemical features. The southern Indian charnockite massifs show similarity with high-Ba-Sr granitoids, with the tonalitic intermediate charnockites showing similarity with high-Ba-Sr granitoids with low K2O /Na2O ratios, and the felsic charnockites showing similarity with high-Ba-Sr granitoids with high K2O/Na2O ratios. A two-stage model is suggested for the formation of these charnockites. During the first stage there was a period of basalt underplating, with the ponding of alkaline mafic magmas. Partial melting of this mafic lower crust formed the charnockitic magmas. Here emplacement of basalt with low water content would lead to dehydration melting of the lower crust forming intermediate charnockites. Conversely, emplacement of hydrous basalt would result in melting at higher fH2O favoring production of more siliceous felsic charnockites. This model is correlated with two crustal thickening phases in southern India, one related to the accretion of the older crustal blocks on to the Archaean craton to the north and the other probably related to the collision between crustal fragments of East and West Gondwana in a supercontinent framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-585
Number of pages21
JournalProceedings of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Earth and Planetary Sciences
Volume113
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2004

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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