Lithofacies analysis and economic mineral potential of a braided fluvial succession of NW Himalayan foreland basin Pakistan

  • Abbas Ali
  • Pan Jiayong Email author
  • Yan Jie 
  • Ahmad Nabi
Original Paper


This study has described detailed lithofacies analysis, clay mineralogy, and depositional setting, and highlighted economic mineral potential of late Miocene to Early Pliocene mid Siwalik Dhok Pathan Formation. The Siwalik fluvial sedimentary succession is 5300 m thick in the NW Himalayan foreland fold-and-thrust belt known as Surghar-Shingar Range (SSR). The middle Siwalik (Dhok Pathan Formation) typically represents cyclic alternation of massive sandstones, siltstones, mudstones, and claystones in repeated fining upward rhythm with varied thicknesses from 807 to 1540 m. Detailed sedimentological investigations resulted in the identification of seven distinct lithofacies (Gt, St, Sh, Ss, Sl, Fm, and Fl) which had been deposited by sand-dominated bed load braided fluvial system. The facies Sh is hosting detrital uraninite identified through a scanning electron microscope (SEM). X-Ray diffraction analyses revealed that kaolinite, smectite (montmorillonite and saponite), illite, vermiculite, and chlorite (clinochlore and chamosite) are the main clay mineral suits present in the formation. The morphology of clay mineral suits is indicative of weathering products or contribution from the source areas. The absence of glass shards and mineral analcimolite evidenced that these smectite group clay minerals were not derived from the devitrification of volcanic ashes. The sedimentological analysis, mineralogical composition, and paleo-flow directions revealed that these sediments had been deposited by NS fluvial system presently known as Indus River system in this area. The rare earth element concentrations of sandstone and heavy minerals laminations (black sand) show enrichment of uranium (662 ppm), thorium (1374 ppm), La (975 ppm), Ce (2831 ppm), Pr (193 ppm), Nd (746 ppm), Gd (98 ppm), and Dy (50.8 ppm), which specify good indicative economic mineral potential of the formation.


Siwalik Group Clay mineralogy Depositional environments Detrital uraninite Surghar range 



The authors would like to thank A. Majid Azhar, K. Pervaiz, I. Asghar, Muhammad A. Amin, Liu Xiaodong, Terrence O’ Conner, Martin C. Fairclough, and anonymous reviewers for their reviews and suggestions to improve and decorate the manuscript. Special thanks are due to PAEC and CNNC for providing facilities to carry out this research as part of Ph.D studies of the first author. The services of laboratory staff at ECUT are thankfully acknowledged. We acknowledge the support of Mujeeb-ur-Rehman, Arshad A. Farooqui, Muhammad A. Qureshi, Yu Zhen, Z. Fujun, Sumaira I., Shahbaz A., Muhammad N. Iqbal, G.S. Khan Faridi, G. Rasool, and A. Imran.

Funding information

The analytical facilities for this study were financially supported by the National Natural Science Funds of China number U1403292 and 41772066.


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abbas Ali
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pan Jiayong 
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yan Jie 
    • 1
  • Ahmad Nabi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Earth SciencesEast China University of TechnologyNanchangPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Pakistan Atomic Energy CommissionLahorePakistan

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