Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration

, Volume 36, Issue 5, pp 879–888 | Cite as

Petromineralogical Studies of Late Paleocene–Middle Eocene Phosphate Nodules in the Subathu Basin of Solan District, Himachal Pradesh

  • Mohd ShuaibEmail author
  • K. F. Khan
  • Samsuddin Khan
  • Shamim A. Dar


The Late Paleocene–Middle Eocene phosphate nodules of Solan District of Himachal Pradesh belong to green facies of Subathu Formation of Sirmur group. Field observations indicate sporadic distribution of phosphatic nodules in the yellow brown to rusty brown, buff-colored bleach shales. Phosphatic nodules are dull earthy to dark grayish in color and break with sharp and conchoidal surfaces. Studies of phosphatic nodules using petrological microscope, X-ray diffractometry, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) attached with energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) reveal that cryptocrystalline apatite (fluorapatite) is the dominant phosphate mineral. Silt sized silica is the dominant gangue, whereas pyrite and muscovite are present as minor gangue. The phosphate minerals occur as oolites, pellets, and cryptocrystalline apatite in the groundmass. Silica veins form a network replacing the original phosphatic matrix. Brown to brownish black color may be attributed by the organic matter in the phosphatic nodules. Completely phosphatized radiolaria and partially pyritized planktonic foraminifera are observed. There is corroboration of organic matter in the form of microbial filaments in the groundmass of apatite. The findings in the present investigation indicate that the different forms of the minerals, their texture, and distribution in the phosphatic nodules might be due to environmental vicissitudes in oxidizing to reducing conditions followed by replacement processes. Presence of microbial filaments may be due to the active role of microorganisms during the formation of these phosphatic nodules.


Mineralogy SEM micrographs Phosphatic nodule Subathu Formation Fluorapatite 



The authors are thankful to the Chairman, Department of Geology, A.M.U., Aligarh, for providing basic facilities. The Coordinator of the University Sophisticated Instrumental Facilities (USIF) A.M.U. is gratefully acknowledged for SEM microanalyses. We thankfully acknowledged Coordinator and Tufail Ahmad (Technical Assistant) of Central instrumental facilities (CIF) at Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi, for XRD analyses. University Grant Commission (UGC) is gratefully acknowledged for financial assistance.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohd Shuaib
    • 1
    Email author
  • K. F. Khan
    • 1
  • Samsuddin Khan
    • 1
  • Shamim A. Dar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeologyAligarh Muslim UniversityAligarhIndia

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