Synthesis of the Tectonic and Structural Elements of the Bengal Basin and Its Surroundings

  • Md. Sakawat HossainEmail author
  • Md. Sharif Hossain Khan
  • Khalil R. Chowdhury
  • Rashed Abdullah
Part of the Springer Geology book series (SPRINGERGEOL)


The Bengal Basin is a collisional foreland basin in South Asia located at the juncture of the Eurasian, Indian and Burmese Plates occupying Bangladesh and parts of the Indian States of West Bengal, Tripura and Assam. Based on basement configuration, sedimentation pattern and geodynamic development/deformation, three geotectonic provinces, e.g. (i) Stable Shelf or Geotectonic Province 1, (ii) Central Foredeep Basin or Geotectonic Province 2 and (iii) Folded Flank (Chittagong–Tripura Fold Belt: CTFB) or Geotectonic Province 3 have been recognised. The chapter briefly synthesises the tectonic history emphasizing the structural features and related important stratigraphic units only. During the Precambrian, only the Geotectonic Province 1 (Stable Shelf of the Bengal Basin) was a part of the Indian Plate, which was an integral part of the Gondwana Supercontinent. Throughout the Paleozoic and much of the Mesozoic, the Indian Plate was occupying a central location in the Gondwana Supercontinent. During the Late Paleozoic–Mid Mesozoic, the basin (Geotectonic Province 1) had experienced extensional tectonics and was developed as an intra-cratonic rift basin. Afterwards, the Kerguelen igneous activity had resulted the spreading of the SE Indian Ocean and thus Geotectonic Province 1 experienced widespread volcanism known as the Rajmahal Trap. During this time, the Geotectonic Province 2 influenced by marine environment and also affected by this volcanic activity. The floor/base of the Geotectonic Province 2 has been developed as a transitional zone between continent-ocean crust during the initial break-up of the Gondwana and the formation of the Indian Plate. Subsequently, the Geotectonic Province 2 continuously subsided and received a massive volume of sediments during the Late Mesozoic through the Tertiary to Recent. The Indian Plate collided with a Neotethyan intra-oceanic arc during the Late Cretaceous and the Paleocene (between 120–57 Ma). The continental part of the Indian Plate then collided with the Tibetan part of the Eurasian Plate around the Eocene-Oligocene boundary (~35 Ma). The collision resulted the subduction of the northern Indian Plate beneath the southern Tibet, which caused the first uplift of the Himalayan region. Further movement of the Indian Plate continued in the north-easterly direction, resulted collision of the Indian Plate with the Burmese Plate and gave rise to the initial uplift in the Indo-Burman Ranges (IBR) region during the Late Oligocene and the Early Miocene. As compression/uplift continued in both the Himalayan and the IBR fronts, the mountain ranges welded through a syntexial bend. The Geotectonic Province 2 or the central Foredeep Basin was separated from the Assam Basin at ~23 Ma as a ‘remnant ocean basin’. The Geotectonic Province 2 and 3 received huge sediment during the Miocene to the Recent age through the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, the Meghna Rivers and their paleochannels due to the regional uplift in the Himalaya and IBR. These massive sediment loads were accommodated by the Geotectonic Province 1 and 2 through lithospheric flexure, subsidence and isostatic adjustment. Whereas, the sediments were accommodated in the Geotectonic Province 3 through upliftment, crustal shortening and fold thrust belt propagation.



Thanks are due to Prof. Dr. S. M. Mahbubul Ameen for discussion and suggestion during the writing of this manuscript. Dr. Soumyajit Mukherjee and an anonymous reviewer are greatly appreciated for their insightful comments and thoughtful suggestions on the initial version of this manuscript. The Springer proof-reading team and Annett Buettner are thanked for their cooperation. Mukherjee (2019) summarizes this work.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Md. Sakawat Hossain
    • 1
    Email author
  • Md. Sharif Hossain Khan
    • 1
  • Khalil R. Chowdhury
    • 1
  • Rashed Abdullah
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geological SciencesJahangirnagar UniversityDhakaBangladesh

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