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Episodes 2020; 43(1): 175-186

Published online March 1, 2020


Copyright © International Union of Geological Sciences.

Early atmosphere and hydrosphere oxygenation: Clues from Precambrian paleosols and chemical sedimentary records of India

Partha Pratim Chakraborty1, Joydip Mukhopadhyay2, Pritam P. Paul3, Dhiraj Mohan Banerjee1 and Melinda K. Bera4

1. Department of Geology, University of Delhi, Delhi-11007
2. Department of Geology, Presidency University, Kolkata- 700073
3. Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai- 400076
4. Manav Rachna University, Faridabad, Haryana, India - 121004
Corresponding author E-mail: parthageology@gmail.com

Correspondence to:E-mail: parthageology@gmail.com

Received: February 23, 2019; Revised: November 13, 2019; Accepted: November 13, 2019

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A number of Precambrian sedimentary basins of the Indian subcontinent offer scope for tracking early oxygenation history of atmosphere and hydrosphere. Available studies, though certainly not exhaustive, record signatures of pre-great oxygenation event (GOE) whiffs of atmospheric oxygenation between 3.29 and 3.02 Ga. Besides, available geochemical signatures from Precambrian sedimentary rocks (BIF, sulfides, sulfates, argillaceous sediments and phosphorites) suggest a generally sub-oxic shallow marine and bipartite oxicsulfidic condition in late Paleoproterozoic and Mesoproterozoic time, respectively. In this backdrop, occurrence of phosphorites in several late Paleoproterozoic basins possibly indicates formation of local oxygen oasis in presence of cyanobacterial community. From heavy to very heavy δ34S values in sulfides (pyrite) present in a number of Mesoproterozoic basins and Mo, Mo/TOC values from argillaceous intervals of the Vindhyan Supergroup, it is inferred that the deep hydrosphere was, in general, anoxic and, at times, euxinic.