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Episodes 2020; 43(1): 19-50

Published online March 1, 2020


Copyright © International Union of Geological Sciences.

The Architecture and Evolution of the Singhbhum Craton

Dhruba Mukhopadhyay and Abdul Matin

Formerly of Department of Geology, University of Calcutta; Email : dhruba_38@yahoo.co.uk; abdul.aindia@gmail.com

Correspondence to:Email : dhruba_38@yahoo.co.uk; abdul.aindia@gmail.com

Received: April 6, 2019; Revised: August 7, 2019; Accepted: August 7, 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.


The Singhbhum Craton is built up by successive pulses of discrete granitic magmatism at ~3.52 Ga, ~3.47-3.43 Ga, and ~3.40-3.35 Ga that produced tonalitetrondhjemite-granodiorite (TTG)-type suites and were followed by younger pulses at 3.32-3.35 Ga, and 3.31-3.28 Ga producing voluminous granitic-granodioritic magma. There is enough evidence to indicate that continental crust building activity started in the Hadean time and continued through Eoarchean. But the rocks of this period were fully recycled to generate the Paleoarchean and younger crust. The different pulses of granitic magmatism during the Paleoarchean were interspersed with the formation of supracrustal rocks which are now preserved as supracrustal belts peripheral to the craton or as internal screens within the craton. Halfnium isotopic record suggests that the Hadean and Eoarchean granitoids were sourced in an enriched reservoir, probably some form of early mafic protocrust. From ~3.6-3.5 Ga a shift in the isotopic composition of Hf is noticed, marked by upward excursion of εHf(t) plots towards suprachondritic values, signifying that the early mantle reservoir was serially modified by contamination by a juvenile melt derived from a depleted source. This probably signals a change in the geodynamic scenario, major depletion of the mantle and generation of voluminous TTG melts. There are contending hypotheses of plume-driven and subduction-driven mechanisms of continental crust formation. In the Singhbhum Craton during Hadean and Eoarchean times episodic mantle plumes probably operated in a stagnant lid tectonic setting. Repeated plume activities and the formation of oceanic plateaus might have triggered the onset of subduction which at the initial stages might have been of short duration. The transition from plume-driven tectonics to subduction-driven tectonics might have taken place at about 3.5 Ga. The supracrustal belts of the Older Metamorphic Group (OMG) and the Iron Ore Group (IOG) are thought to have formed in supra-subduction settings. Widespread metamorphism and deformation affected the craton during 3.34-3.26 Ga. By 3.1 Ga the Singhbhum Craton had stabilized and emerged as a landmass. Paleosols developed on the surface; rift basins were formed which were receptacles of siliciclastic sediments and mafic volcanics; anorogenic K-feldspar bearing granites were emplaced. Swarms of mafic dykes of Paleo- to Meso-Proterozoic age intruded the craton marking a tensional regime that was probably related to the initial stage of basin formation in the North Singhbhum Mobile Belt.