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A note on the origin of Mussoorie phosphorite in the Lower Himalaya, India, and its palaeogeographic implications

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An indirect role of organisms whose productivity was supported during the oceanic upwelling is recognised for the deposition of the Mussoorie phosphorites which are associated with black-shale-chert-carbonate-pyrite facies in the Lower Himalaya. The lithological gradation and textural variation of these sediments are described. Bone and teeth beds or rich fossiliferous beds are absent within these sediments forming the base of the Tal Formation. This occurrence of phosphorites is already within the 40 parallel and therefore still warmer palaeolatitudes are not considered to be necessary. However, if the Lower Himalayan region drifted northwards as a part of the Indian Shield, the post-Cambrian Lower Himalayan rocks may also represent sediments of the Tethys sea. Contrary to the current practice, the southern limit of the Tethys may have to be moved still southwards from “the line of high snow peaks” to a lithologically better defined zone, i.e. the northern fringes of the Indian Shield. The criteria speaking for this opinion are presented.


Für die Bildung der Mussoorie-Phosphorite wird ein indirekter Einfluß von Organismen erkannt, deren Wachstum durch aufströmendes Tiefenwasser gefördert wurde. Die Phosphorite treten im „Lower Himalaya“ im Verband mit einer Schwarzschiefer-Chert-Karbonat-Pyrit-Fazies auf. Die lithologische Abstufung und die strukturellen Wechsel dieser Sedimente werden beschrieben. Knochen- und Zahnreste-führende Schichten oder fossilreiche Horizonte fehlen in diesen Sedimentgesteinen an der Basis der „Tal-Formation“. Die Mussoorie-Phosphoritvorkommen liegen bereits im Bereich des 40. Breitengrades, und deshalb sind für ihre Bildung keine noch wärmeren paläogeographischen Zonen notwendig. Wenn jedoch das Gebiet des „Lower Himalaya“ als Teil des Indischen Schildes nordwärts driftete, könnten die post-kambrischen Gesteine des Lower Himalaya ebensogut Sedimente des Tethys-Meeres sein. Im Gegensatz zu der herkömmlichen Auffassung könnte die S-Grenze der Tethys noch weiter südlich von der „Linie der hohen Schneegipfel“ an einer lithologisch besser definierten Zone angenommen werden, d.h. am N-Rand des Indischen Schildes. Die Gründe für diese Meinung werden dargelegt.

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Patwardhan, A.M., Ahluwalia, A.D. A note on the origin of Mussoorie phosphorite in the Lower Himalaya, India, and its palaeogeographic implications. Mineral. Deposita 8, 379–387 (1973). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00207519

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  • India
  • Mineral Resource
  • Current Practice
  • Phosphorite
  • Himalayan Region