Indian Shield: Pristine Shape, Size and Tectonic Framework

  • A. B. RoyEmail author
Part of the Society of Earth Scientists Series book series (SESS)


The Precambrian terrane of Peninsular India is commonly referred to as the Indian Shield. Geological evidences suggest that the pre-existing terrane which evolved as the Indian Shield occupied a much wider area than that of Peninsular India. Known as ‘Greater India’ the pristine Indian Shield underwent repeated decimation during the Phanerozoic, which began with the Jurassic break-up of the Gondwana Land. However, relying on the information from Peninsular India, it is possible to trace out not only the history of destruction, but also the clue to divide this Precambrian crustal block into two major tectonic blocks: the initially formed Precambrian Continental core or Proto-India which formed due to amalgamation of several Protocontinents. The Proto-Indian changed into Indian Shield due to the accretion of granulite/charnockite belts, called the Suspect terranes. The six smaller Precambrian crustal blocks which together constituted the Proto-India include Dharwar, Bastar, Singhbhum, Rajmahal, Bundelkhand, and Aravalli. The Protocontinents are separated from each other by Joins marked by Lineament like the Narmada-Son, or by the Gondwana rift basins like the Godavari, Mahanadi and the Damodar Valley. Geological history of the individual Protocontinent suggests distinctive tectonic pattern, history of evolution and metallogenic traits implying independent growth of each of the Precambrian crustal blocks. Further, strictly independent growth history of the individual Protocontinents rule out operation of any global scale process in the evolution of these fundamental crustal units analogous to the modern Plate Tectonics.


Indian shield Greater india Protocontinents Phanerozoic reconstitution Suspect terranes 


  1. Ali, J. R., & Aitchison, J. C. (2008). Gondwana to Asia: Plate tectonics, palaeogeography and biological connectivity of the Indian sub-continent from Middle Jurassic through latest Eocene (166-35 Ma). Earth-Science Reviews, 88, 145–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen, P., Condie, K. C., & Narayana, B. L. (1983). The Archaean low- to high-grade transition in the Krishnagiri–Dharmapuri Area, Tamil Nadu, Southern India. In S. M. Naqvi & J. J. W. Rogers (Eds.), Precambrian of South India (Vol. 4, pp. 450–461). Bangalore: Memoir Geological Society India.Google Scholar
  3. Argand, E. (1924). La tectonique de l’Asie. In Proceedings of the International Geological Congress (vol. 7, pp. 171–372).Google Scholar
  4. Bartlett, J. M., Harris, N. B. W., Hawkesworth, C. J., & Santosh, M. (1995). New isotope constraints on crustal evolution of South India and Pan-African Granulite metamorphism. In M. Yoshida & M. Santosh (Eds.), Indian and Antarctica during the Precambrian (Vol. 34, pp. 391–397). Bangalore: Memoir Geological Society India.Google Scholar
  5. Bhadra, S., Gupta, S., & Banerjee, M. (2004). Structural evolution across the Eastern Ghats Mobile Belt-Bastar craton boundary, India: Hot over cold trusting in an ancient collision zone. Journal of Structural Geology, 26, 233–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Biswal, T. K., Jena, S. K., Datta, S., Das, R., & Khan, K. (2000). Deformation of terrane boundary shear zone (lakha shear zone) between the Eastern Ghats Mobile belt and the Bastar Craton, in Bolangir and Kalahandi districts of Orissa. Journal Geological Society of India, 55, 367–380.Google Scholar
  7. Biswal and Sinha. (2004). Fold-thrust belt structure of the Proterozoic Eastern Ghats mobile belt: A proposed correlation between India and Antarctica in Gondwanaland. Gondwana Research, 7, 43–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chaudhary, A. K., Harris, N. B. W., Van Clasteren, P. C., & Hawkesworth, C. J. (1992). Pan-African charnockite formation in Kerala, South India. Geological Magazine, 129, 257–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chetty, T. R. K. (2001). The Eastern Ghats mobile belt, India: A collage of juxtaposed terranes (?). Gondwana Research, 4, 319–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chetty, T. R. K. (2010). Structural architecture of the northern composite terrane, the Eastern Ghats Mobile Belt, India: Implications for Gondwana tectonic. Gondwana Research, 18(4), 565–582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Collins, A. S., Santosh, M., Braun, I., & Clark, C. (2007). Age and sedimentary provenance of Southern Granulites of Southern India: U-Th-Pb SHRIMP secondary ion mass spectrometry. Precambrian Research, 155, 125–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dasgupta, S., & Sengupta, P. (2003). Indo-Antarctic correlation: A perspective from the Eastern Ghats granulite belt, India. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 206, 131–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. DeCelles, P. G., Robinson, D. M., & Zandt, G. (2002). Implications of the shortening in the Himalayan fold-thrust belt for uplift of the Tibetan Plateau. Tectonopphysics, 21(6), 1062. Scholar
  14. Dewey, J. F., Cande, S., & Pitman, E. C., III. (1989). Tectonic evolution of India/Eurasia collision zone. Eclogae Geologicae Helvetiae, 82, 717–734.Google Scholar
  15. Dobmeir, C., & Raith, M. M. (2003). Crustal architecture and evolution of the Eastern Ghats Belt and adjacent regions of India. In M. Yoshida, B. F. Windley, & S. Dasgupta (Eds.), Proterozoic East Gondwana Supercontinent Assembly and breakup (Vol. 206, pp. 145–168). London: Geological Society, London, Special Publications.Google Scholar
  16. Drury, S. A., Harris, N. B. H., Holt, R. W., Reeves-Smith, G. J., & Wightman, R. T. (1984). Precambrian tectonics and crustal evolution in South India. Journal of Geology, 92, 3–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Drury, S. A., & Holt, R. W. (1980). The tectonic framework of the south Indian craton: A reconnaissance involving Landsat imagery. Tecotonophysics, 65, 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fermor, L. L. (1936). An attempt at the correlation ancient schistose formation of Peninsular India. Memoirs of the Geological Survey of India, 70(1), 51p.Google Scholar
  19. Friend, C. R. L. (1981). The timing of charnockite and granite formation in relation to influx of CO2 at Kabbaldurga, Karnataka, South India. Nature, 294, 550–552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Friend, C. R. L., & Nutman, A. P. (1992). Response of U-Pb isotopes and whole rock geochemistry of CO2 induced granulite facies metamorphism, Kabbaldurga, Karnataka, south India. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 111, 299–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gupta, S., Bhattacharya, A., Raith, M., & Nanda, J. K. (2000). Contrasting pressure–temperature-deformation history across a vestigial craton mobile belt boundary: the western margin of the Eastern Ghats belt at Deobhog, India. Journal of Metamorphic Geology, 18, 683–697.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gupta, S., Nanda, J., Mukherjee, S. K., & Santra, M. (2005). Alkaline magmatism versus collision tectonics in the Eastern Ghats Belt, India: Constraints from structural studies in the Koraput Complex. Gondwana Research, 8, 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Harris, N. B. W., Santosh, M., & Tayler, P. (1994). Crustal Evolution of South India: Constraints from Nd isotopes. Journal of Geology, 102, 139–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hatcher, R. D., Jr. (1978). Encyclopaedia of Geological Sciences (819p). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  25. Janardhan, A. S. (1983). Transformation of Peninsular Gneiss to charnockite in Southern Karnataka. In S. M. Naqvi & J. J. W. Rogers (Eds.), Precambrian of South India (Vol. 4, pp. 417–435). Bangalore: Memoir Geological Society India.Google Scholar
  26. Jayananda, M., & Peucat, J. J. (1996). Geochronological framework of Southern India. In M. Santosh & M. Yoshida (Eds.), The Archaean-and Proterozoic terrains in Southern India within East Gondwana (Vol. 3, pp. 53–75). Gondwana: Memoirs Gondwana Research Group.Google Scholar
  27. Kelly, N. M., Clarke, G. L., & Fanning, V. M. (2002). A two stage evolution of the Neoproterozoic Rayner structural episode: New U-Pb sensitive high resolution ion microprobe constraints from the Oygarden Group, Kemp Land, East Antarctica. Precambrian Research, 116, 307–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Khan, A. A., Sattar, G. S., & Rahman, T. (1994). Tectogenesis of the Gondwana rifted basins of Bangladesh in the so-called Garo-Rajmahal Gap and their drift regional tectonic correlation. In Proceedings of the Ninth International Gondwana Symposium (pp. 647–655). New Delhi: Oxford-IBH.Google Scholar
  29. Krishnan, M. S. (1948). Geology of India and Burma (555p). Madras: Higginbothams (Private) Ltd.Google Scholar
  30. Kröner, A., Cooray, P. G., & Vitanage, Pw. (1991). Lithotectonic subdivision of the Precambrian basement in Sri Lanka., Pt. 1. Summary of Research of the German-Sri Lankan Consortium. Geological Survey Department of Sri Lanka, Professional Paper, 5, 5–25.Google Scholar
  31. Le Fort, P. (1975). Himalayas: The collided range. Present knowledge of the continental arc. American Journal of Science, 27, 1–44.Google Scholar
  32. Leelanandam, C., Burke, K., Ashwal, L. D., & Webb, S. J. (2006). Proterozoic mountain building in Peninsular India: Analysis based primarily on alkaline rock distribution. Geological Magazine, 143, 195–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mahadevan, T. M. (1994). Deep continental structure of India. Memoir Geological Society India, 28, 569p.Google Scholar
  34. Medlicott, H. B., & Blandord, W. T. (1879–81). Manual geology of India (Part I, Part II, 485 p). Calcutta: Geological Survey of India.Google Scholar
  35. Molnar, P., & Tapponnier, P. (1975). Cenozoic terctonics of Asia: Effects of a continental collision. Science, 189, 419–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Naqvi, S. M., Divakara Rao, V., & Narayan, H. (1974). Archaean protocontinental growth of the Indian shield and the antiquity of the rift valleys. Precambrian Research, 1, 345–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Qureshy, M. N. (1969). The thickening of the basalt layer as a possible cause of for the uplift of the Himalayas-suggestion based on gravity data. Tectonophysics, 7, 137–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Qureshy, M. N., & Kumar, S. (1992). Isostasy and neotectonics of the Northeast Himalaya and foredeep. Memoir Geological Society India, 23, 201–222.Google Scholar
  39. Radhakrishna, B. P. (1989). Suspect tectono stratigraphic terrane elements in the Indian Subcontinent. Journal Geological Society of India, 34, 1–24.Google Scholar
  40. Radhakrishna, T., Dallmeyer, R. D., & Joseph, M. (1994). Palaeomagnetism and 36Ar/40Ar vs. 39Ar/40Ar isotope correlation ages od dyke swarms in central Kerala. Tectonic implications. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 121, 213–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Radhakrishna, T., Maluski, H., Michell, J. G., & Joseph, M. (1999). 40Ar/39Ar and K/Ar geochronology of the dykes from South Indian granulite terrain. Tectonophysiscs, 304, 109–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rama Rao, B. (1940). The Archaean complex of Mysore. Mysore Geological Department Bulletin, 17, 1–101.Google Scholar
  43. Ramakrishnan, M. (1988). Tectonic evolution of granulite terrains of Southern India. Memoir Geological Society India, 25, 35–44.Google Scholar
  44. Ramakrishnan, M. (2003). Craton-mobile belt relations in Southern Granulite Terrain. In M. Ramakrishna (Ed.), Tectonic of the southern granulite terrain: Kuppam–Palani Geotransect (Vol. 50, pp. 1–24). Bangalore: Memoir Geological Society India.Google Scholar
  45. Ramakrishnan, M., Nanda, J. K., & Augustine, P. F. (1998). Geological evolution of the proterozoic Eastern Ghats mobile belt. Geological Survey of India Special Paper, 44, 1–21.Google Scholar
  46. Ramakrishnan, M., & Vaidyanadhan, R. (2008). Geology of India ( vol. I, 556p).Google Scholar
  47. Rogers, J. J. (1986). Dharwar craton and the assembly of Peninsular India. The Journal of Geology, 94, 129–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Roy, A. B. (2004). Phanerozoic reconstitution of Indian Shield as the aftermath of break-up of the Gondwanaland. Gondwana Research, 7, 387–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Roy, A. B. (2012). Indian shield: Insight into the pristine size, shape and tectonic framework. Indian Journal of Geoscienses, 66, 181–192.Google Scholar
  50. Roy, A. B. (2014). Indian subcontinent, reference module in earth systems and environmental sciences, Elsevier, 11 Aug 2014 Scholar
  51. Roy, A. B., & Jakhar, S. R. (2002). Geology of Rajasthan: Precambrian to Recent (p. 421p). Jodhpur: Scientific Publishers (India).Google Scholar
  52. Santosh, M., Kagami, H., Yoshida, M., & Nada-Kumar, V. (1992). Pan-African charnockite formation in East Gondwana: Geochronologic (Sm-Nd and Rb-Sr) and petrologic constraints. Bulletin of the Indian Geologists Association, 25, 1–10.Google Scholar
  53. Santosh, M., Yokoyama, K., Biju-Sekhar, S., & Rogers, J. J. W. (2003). Multiple tectonothermal events in the granulite blocks of southern India revealed from EPMA dating; Implication for theory of supercontinent. Gondwana Research, 6, 29–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Searle, B. P., Windley, B. F., Coward, M. P., Cooper, D. J. W., Rex, A. J., Tingdong, L., et al. (1987). The closing of the Tethys and the tectonics of the Himalaya. Bulletin Geological Society America, 8, 678–701.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sen, S., Bhattacharya, S., & Acharya, S. (1995). A multi-staged pressure temperature record in the Chilka Lake granulites: The epitome of the metamorphic evolution of Eastern Ghats, India? Journal of Metamorphic Petrological, 13, 287–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sengupta, P., Sen, J., Dasgupta, S., Raith, M., Bhui, U. K., & Ehl, J. (1999). Ultra-high temperature metamorphism of metapelitic granulites from Kondapalle, Eastern Ghats Belt: implications for the Indo-Antarctic correlation. Journal of Petrology, 40, 1065–1087.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Shabeer, K. P., Satish Kumar, M., Armstrong, M., & Buick, I. S. (2004). Constraints on timingof Pan-African granulite facies metamorphism in the Kerala Khondalite Belt of south India: SHRIMP mineral ages and Nd isotope systematics. Journal of Geology, 113, 95–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Sharma, R. S. (2010). Cratons and fold belts of India, lecture notes in earth sciences (vol. 127, 304p). Berlin: Spiniger.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Srikantappa, C. (1993). High pressure charnockites of the Nilgiri Hills, southern India. Memoir Geological Society India, 25, 95–110.Google Scholar
  60. Storey, M., Mahoney, J. J., Saunders, A. D., Duncan, R. A., Kelly, S. K., & Coffin, M. F. (1995). Timing of hot spot-related volcanism and break-up of Madagascar and India. Science, 267, 852–855.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Subramanyam, C. (1983). An over view of gravity anomalies, Precambrian metamorphic terrains and their boundary relationships in the Southern Indian shield. In S. M. Naqvi & J. J. W. Rogers (Eds.), Precambrian of South India (Vol. 4, pp. 553–565). Bangalore: Memoir Geological Society India.Google Scholar
  62. Torsvik, T. H., Tucker, R. D., Ashwal, L. D., Carter, L. M., Jamtveit, B., Vidyadharan, K. T., et al. (2000). Late cretaceous India-Madagascar fit and timing of break-up related magmatism. Terra Nova, 12, 220–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Unnikrishnan-Warrier, C., Santosh, M., & Yoshida, M. (1995). First report of Pan-African Sm-Nd and Rb-Sr mineral isochron ages from regional charnockites of Southern India. Geological Magazine, 132, 253–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Valdiya, K. S. (1984). Tectonics of the folded fringe of the Indian platform. Reports of Colloquium 05, 27th international Geological Congress, Moscow, pp. 110–137.Google Scholar
  65. Valdiya, K. S. (1998). Dynamic Himalaya (178p). Hyderabad: Universities Press.Google Scholar
  66. Valsangkar, A. B., Radhakrishnamurthy, C., Subba Rao, K. V., & Beckinsale, R. D. (1981). Palaeomagnetism and potassium-argon age studies of acid igneous rocks from St. Mary Islands. Memoir Geological Society India, 3, 265–275.Google Scholar
  67. Veeraswamy, K., & Raval, U. (2004). Chipping and breakup along mobile belts of a supercontinent. Earth and Planets Space, 56, 491–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Vemban, N. A., Subramanian, K. S., GopalKrishna, K., & Venkata Rao, V. (1977). Major faults, dislocation lineaments of Tamil Nadu. Geological Survey India Misc Publication, 31, 53–56.Google Scholar
  69. Venkatasubramanian, V. S. (1975). Studies in the geochronology of the Mysore Craton. Geophysical Research Bulletin, N.G.R.I India, 13, 239–246.Google Scholar
  70. Virdi, N. S. (1987). Northern margin of Indian plate: Some lithp-tectonic constraints. Tectonophysics, 134, 29–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Warsi, W. E. K., & Molnar, P. (1977). Gravity anomalies and plate tectonics in the Himalaya. Colloques Int. du CNRS, in Himalaya. Sciences de la Terra, pp. 463–478.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Niloy Apartment, Flat 3/2G, 46A, R.N. Das RoadKolkataIndia

Personalised recommendations