Depositional environment of Himmatnagar Sandstone (Lower/Middle Cretaceous): a perspective


  • Nishith Y. Bhatt Geology Department, M.G. Science Institute, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad 380009, India
  • Paras M. Solanki Geology Department, M.G. Science Institute, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad 380 009, India
  • Neeru Prakash Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, 53 University Road, Lucknow 226007, India
  • Neelam Das



Himmatnagar Sandstone Formation, Cretaceous, Trace fossils, Lithofacies, Ichnofacies, Sedimentary structures


Himmatnagar Sandstone (lower to middle Cretaceous) is exposed in between Sabarmati River in the west to Vantada in the east around Himmatnagar Town in north Gujarat, India. The sequence is divisible in two members: The lower member is 65 m thick, mostly massive, horizontally stratified to hummocky stratified with abundant plant and trace fossils in assorted shales and sandstones. The upper member is ~ 12 m thick, cross–stratified and medium to coarse grained–gritty to cobbly in nature. Six lithofacies have been identified in the sequence, viz. 1. grey wacke (GW), 2. silty–shale (SS), 3. cross–stratified sandstone (CS), 4. horizontally stratified sandstone (HSS), and 5. planar cross–stratified sandstone (PCS) in the lower member; and 6. gritty–cobbly cross–stratified sandstone (GCCS) in the upper member.

The lower member consists of plant fossils which are poor to moderately preserved and transported. The silty–shale lithofacies contains plant fossils (Pagiophyllum, Brachyphyllum, Gleichenia, Araucarites, circinate vernation of ferns, Williamsonia flower, twigs, petrified wood, conifer and its cone, etc.), body fossil (insect wing) and trace fossils (Skolithos, Monocraterion, Psilonichnus, Thalassinoides, Chondrites, Planolites, Palaeophycus, Calycraterion, Circulichnus, Ophiomorpha, Phoebichnus, etc.). In the cross–stratified sandstone lithofacies, body fossils (mainly fragmented bivalves, plant fossils (Weichselia reticulata, Matonidium indicum, Ptilophyllum, cycadean frond and fossil wood) and trace fossils (Monocraterion, Chondrites, Calycraterion, Thalassinoides, Psilonichnus and Skolithos) are recognized. On the other hand, in horizontally stratified sandstone lithofacies plant fossils (Sphenopteris, Pagiophyllum, Gleichenia, Elactocladus, Brachyphyllum, ferns, petrified wood, etc.) and trace fossils (Skolithos, Ophiomorpha, Psilonichnus, Monocraterion, Arenicolites, Diplocraterion, Thalassinoides, Teichichnus, Palaeophycus, Planolites, etc.) are present. While, large crustacean and vertebrate burrows, Skolithos, Thalassinoides, Ophiomorpha, etc are found in planar cross–stratified sandstone lithofacies. The trace fossils belong to Psilonichnus, Skolithos and Cruziana ichnofacies as per Seilacher (1967). The member also contains wedge shape geometry of beds similar to tidal partings as well as ridge and runnel structures, low–angle to hummocky cross–stratification, herringbone structure and parting lineation. Here, north to northeast palaeo–current direction is indicated by cross–stratification in the member. All these features lead to the depositional environment, which seems to be foreshore–tidal flat to middle shoreface for the lower member of the sequence.

The upper member is composed of trough cross–stratified sandstones showing prominently southwest to south palaeo–current direction with angular to sub–rounded pebbles and cobbles of underlying rocks and fossil wood with lower erosional contact and channel structures at places. Based on above characteristics, depositional environment of upper member can be interpreted from estuarine to fluvial.


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How to Cite

Bhatt, N. Y., Solanki, P. M., Prakash, N., & Das, N. (2016). Depositional environment of Himmatnagar Sandstone (Lower/Middle Cretaceous): a perspective. Journal of Palaeosciences, 65((1-2), 67–84.



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