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Reworked Early Permian Palynomorphs and Tertiary Palynomorphs from the

Upper Bhuban Formation (Miocene), Nagaland, India

Article  in  Himalayan Geology · January 2016


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Yengkhom Raghumani Singh B. P. Singh

Manipur University Banaras Hindu University


Srikanta Murthy
Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciencea


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Himalayan Geology, Vol. 37 (1), 2016, pp. 35-41, Printed in India

Reworked Early Permian Palynomorphs and Tertiary Palynomorphs from the

Upper Bhuban Formation (Miocene), Nagaland, India
Department of Earth Sciences, Manipur University, Imphal 795003, India
Centre of Advanced Study in Geology, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi 221 005, India
Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, Lucknow 226 007, India
*Email(Corresponding author): yengmani@gmail.com

Abstract: The present investigation reports an assemblage of Tertiary palynomorphs and reworked Early Permian
palynomorphs from the Upper Bhuban Formation (Miocene) of 10 Mile Chumukedima Gate, Kohima (Nagaland). The
palynological assemblage consists of 17 genera and 26 species. Of these, 12 genera and 18 species are of the reworked
Permian palynofossils and 5 genera and 8 speices of Tertiary palynofossils, including 1 genus and 1 species of fungal spore.
The reworked Early Permian taxa are represented by Scheuringipollenites maximus, S. barakarensis, S. tentulus,
Primuspollenites obscurus, P. levis, P. densus, P. linterus, P. dicavus, Platysaccus densus, Plicatipollenites indicus,
Polypodisporites sp., Potonieisporites concinnus, Indotriradites sp., Cristastisporites sp., Striatites communis,
Densipollenites sp., Rhizomaspora indica, and Barakarites sp. The high frequency of reworked palynomorphs in the
assemblage suggests that the siliciclastic sediments of the Upper Bhuban Formation preserving palynomorphs were largely
sourced from the Gondwana succession or from the earlier deposited sequences of the Himalayan foothills. A warm and
humid freshwater depositional environment and tropical to subtropical climatic conditions are inferred for the Upper
Bhuban Formation, based on the occurrences of Striatriletes and fungal remains.
Keywords: Reworked palynomorphs, Upper Bhuban Formation, Striatriletes, Miocene, Nagaland.

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INTRODUCTION divided into three distinct units, namely the schuppen belt, the
Nagaland is largely a hilly state, located as a narrow strip inner fold belt/or inner Paleogene fold belt, and ophiolite belt
between the Brahmaputra valley of Assam and the Manipur from west to east (Fig. 1C). The inner fold belt is represented
state. It is bordered on the north by Arunachal Pradesh and to by the Disang and the Barail rocks. In the Schuppen belt of
the south by Manipur. Geologically, Nagaland has been Nagaland, the Tertiary successions are made up of the Barail

Group (Oligocene), Surma Group (Miocene), Tipam Group hydrofluoric acid and nitric acid followed by 10% potassium
(Miocene), Namsang Formation (Pliocene) and Dihing hydroxide solution. The material was finally washed with
Formation (Plio-Pleistocene) in ascending order of distilled water using 500 mesh sieve. The residue was mixed
stratigraphy. It is exposed in the core of the Kohima with polyvinyl solution and was spread uniformly over cover
synclinorium and within the Schuppen belt. The Surma Group glass. The cover glass was allowed to dry at room temperature
has been divided into the Lower, Middle and Upper Bhuban and mounted with canada balsam (Saxena & Tripathi 2012).
formations and Bokabil Formation (GSI 2011). The Surma Palynological study was carried out under Carl Zeiss
rocks are widely distributed and are well exposed in this microscope Axioskop 40 and the photomicrography of the
region. reworked palynomorphs was done using Nikon Eclipse E 200
The early geological accounts of the Naga hills are
available from the reports of the geological traverses made by
Mallet (1876), Oldham (1883), Pascoe (1912), Evans (1932),
Mathur & Evans (1964) Brunnschweiler (1966), Bhandari et The palynoflora documented here is the first such attempt
al. (1973), Das Gupta (1977), and GSI (2011). Foraminifers, from the Upper Bhuban Formation of Nagaland State. The
other invertebrates and trace fossils have been recorded earlier palynological assemblage from the studied section is
from the Disang and Barail transitional areas in Nagaland composed mainly of Early Permian (reworked) and the
(Gaur & Chakradhar 1985; Mishra 1990; Lokho et al. 2004; Tertiary palynofloras, which are listed here and some selected
Singh et al. 2014). Few palynological investigations have indigenous and reworked palynomorphs are illustrated in
been carried out in the Barail Group (Singh et al. 1990; Kumar Plate I. The qualitative analysis of the investigated section of
1994; Mandal 1996; Dutta et al. 1998). Recycled palyno- the the Upper Bhuban Formation in the study area consists of 8
fossils from the Tertiary successions of Northeast India have species referable to 5 genera of spores, pollen grains and fungi.
been recorded by Dutta (1978), Dutta & Singh (1980), Trivedi In addition, 12 genera and 18 species belonging to the Permian
(1985), Singh et al. (1990), and Kumar et al. (2001). Dutta reworked palynomrophs have also been recovered. A number
(1978) noted a few Lower Gondwana palynomorphs in the of unidentifiable palynomorphs are also present in the
upper part of the Bhuban Formation of Miocene age at assemblage. The palynofossils of reworked Permian flora and
Nichuguard, Nagaland. Mandal (1996) reported the recycled Tertiary flora are listed below.
Gondwana palynofossils from the Barail Group of Nagaland
and advocated their source from Gondwana sequence Reworked spores/pollen
occurring in the foot-hills of Himalaya in Bhutan and Barakarites sp.
Arunachal Pradesh. However, so far there is no record of Cristastisporites sp.
palynomorphs from the Surma succession in this region Densipollenites sp.
except the one by Dutta (1978). Palynofossil assemblage from Indotriradites sp.
the successions coeval to the Upper Bhuban Formation Platysaccus densus Kar (1968)
exposed in the neighbouring states of the Northeast India has Plicatipollenites indicus Lele 1964
been significantly explored by earlier workers (Banerjee Polypodisporites sp.
1964; Nandi & Sharma 1984; Rao et al. 1985; Kar 1990; Potonieisporites concinnus Tiwari 1965
Saxena & Rao 1996; Mandaokar 2000; Kumar et al. 2001; Primuspollenites densus Tiwari 1964
Singh et al. 2011). P. dicavus Tiwari 1965
P. levis Tiwari 1964
In this paper, we present palynological data from one
P. linterus Tiwari 1965
section of the Upper Bhuban Formation, which was not
P. obscures Tiwari 1965
examined for its palynological content so far. We are focussing
Rhizomaspora indica Tiwari 1965
on the Tertiary and reworked Permain palynofloras,
Scheuringipollenites barakarensis (Tiwari) Tiwari 1973
discussing their palaeoenvironmental significance.
S. maximus (Hart) Tiwari 1973
S. tentulus (Tiwari) Tiwari 1973
Striatites communis Bharadwaj & Salujha 1964
The studied samples represent a part of the Upper Bhuban Tertiary Palynotaxa
Formation, which is well exposed at 10th Mile Chumukedima Pteridophytes spores
Gate (25047´47.35˝N : 93048´08.75˝E), Kohima (Nagaland) Striatriletes susanae (vander Hammen) Kar 1979
and is composed mainly of alternation of shales and S. microverrucosus Kar & Saxena 1981
sandstones (Figs. 1B and 2). In total, six samples (310-315) Striatriletes sp.
from fine grained sandstones and shales were processed for Foveosporites sp.
palynological analysis. Out of these, three (311, 314 and 315) Gymnosperm pollen
proved palynologically productive. For recovery of Podocarpidites meghalayaensis Rao 1986
palynomorphs, samples were treated with hydrochloric acid, Podocarpidites sp.

Tibetan Plateau



Delhi MBT
India Nagaland









v v v

OF v

v v#
# v
LEGEND # v #
v # v Oceanic Pelagic Sediments
Dihing, Namsang Formation V
V Naga Metamorphics,
& Quaternary Sediments v V V V V V V
Nimi Formation
Tipam Group Thrust
Surma Group Sample location

C Barail & Disang Group

10 Km 0 Km

Fig. 1. A. Map of India showing the location of Nagaland State; B. Sampled Outcrop of the study area; C. Geological map of Nagaland (after GSI 2011).

Angiosperm pollen such as Scheuringipollenites maximus, S. barakarensis, S.

Inaperturopollenites sp. tentulus, Primuspollenites obscurus, P. levis, P. densus, P.
Fungal remains linterus, P. dicavus, Platysaccus densus, Plicatipollenites
Phragmothyrites sp. indicus, Polypodisporites sp., Potonieisporites concinnus,
Indotriradites sp., Cristastisporites sp., Striatites communis,
The vertical distribution and quantitative account of the
Densipollenites sp., Rhizomaspora indica, and Barakarites
recovered palynolotaxa is presented in figure 2. The
occurrence of reworked Permian palynomorphs (Tiwari 1964)
is relatively higher throughout the studied succession. They The Tertiary palynomorphs are relatively small in
are recorded for the first time from this area and include forms numbers in all the samples. They comprise Podocarpidites

Plate 1. Reworked Early Penmian palynomorphs (1-19, 25-27) and the associated Tertiary palynomorphs (20-24) from the Upper Bhuban Formation of Nagaland.
1. Primuspollenites obscures, 2. Primuspollenites obscures, 3. Platysaccus densus, 4. Primuspollenites densus, 5. Primuspollenits linterus, 6.
Primuspollenites dicavus, 7. Plicatipollenites indicus, 8. Scheuringipollenites maximus, 9. Scheuringipollenites barakarensis, 10. Primuspollenites
densus, 11. Potonieisporites concinnus, 12. Scheuringipollenites tentulus, 13. Indotriradites sp., 14. Cristastisporites sp., 15. Striatites communis, 16.
Densipollenites sp., 17. Rhizomaspora indica, 18. Polypodisporites sp., 19. Barakarites sp., 20. Podocarpidites sp., 21. Striatriletes microverrucosus, 22.
Foveosporites sp., 23. Phragmothyrites sp., 24. Striatriletes susanae, 25. Podocarpidites sp., 26. Pollen grain, 27. Primuspollenites levis (Bars represent
10 µm).

Fig. 2. Lithostratigraphic column of the Upper Bhuban Formation at 10th Mile Chumukedima Gate showing the distribution of palynomorphs.

meghalayaensis, Podocorpidites sp., Striatriletes susanae, climate. Striatriletes, one of the major elements of the
S. microverrucosus, Striatriletes sp., Inaperturopollenites sp. assemblage, in association with fungal remains suggests
and Phragmothyrites sp. humid, warm, swampy/freshwater environment of deposition
(Handique & Dutta 1981; Mandal 1996; Kumar et al. 2001;
DISCUSSION Singh et al. 2011). It indicates tropical – subtropical climate.
The fungal remains of Phragmothyrites sp. indicate
The Pre-Mesozoic and Cretaceous sequences represented by wet/humid climate. The dominance of spores of Striatriletes
the Naga metamorphic and Ophiolite melange suite are spp. with fungal remains, in the present study, imply that a
exposed in the Ophiolite belt, while the Paleogene warm and humid freshwater depositional environment and
sedimentary successions of the Disang and Barail groups tropical-subtropical climatic conditions prevailed during the
occur within the inner Paleogene fold belt in this region. The course of sedimentation of the Upper Bhuban Formation.
record of reworked palynofossils from the Surma-Tipam
groups of Upper Assam suggests that the Barail and Surma CONCLUSIONS
sediments were derived from the northern side of Upper
1. The Tertiary and reworked Permian palynomorphs are
Assam during Oligocene times as the Himalaya was not
recovered from the Upper Bhuban Formation exposed at
sufficiently uplifted and became the main source for the Barail
sediments (Banerjee 1964). The Lower Gondwana rocks are 10th Mile Chumukedima Gate, Kohima (Nagaland). The
exposed at the foot hills of the Himalaya in Bhutan and palynological assemblage consists of 18 species referable
Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Assam (Dutta 1978). to 12 genera of the Permian reworked palynomorphs. The
Singh et al. (1990) suggested that the Cretaceous sediments, Tertiary palynomoprhs are represented by 8 species
containing recycled Permian palynofossils, acted as a source refereable to 5 genera of spores, pollen grains, and fungal
for the Barail-Surma sedimentation. Further, it has been remains.
suggested that the sediments of Barail and Surma groups of the 2. Scheuringipollenites maximus, S. barakarensis, S.
Lower Assam and Bangladesh might have been transported tentulus, Primuspollenites obscurus, P. levis, P. densus, P.
from the foothills of the Himalaya in the north and northeast of linterus, P. dicavus, Platysaccus kingerensis,
the UpperAssam (Kumar et al. 2001). Plicatipollenites indicus, Polypodisporites sp .,
Potonieisporites concinnus, Indotriradites sp.,
During the present investigation, the reworked Permian Cristastisporites sp., Striatites communis, Densipollenites
palynotaxa, namely Scheuringipollenites maximus, S. sp., Rhizomaspora indica, and Barakarites sp. have been
barakarensis, S. tentulus, Primuspollenites obscurus, P. levis, recorded for the first time from this area.
P. densus, P. linterus, P. dicavus, Platysaccus densus, 3. The occurrence of reworked Permian palynotaxa
Plicatipollenites indicus, Polypodisporites sp. , indicates that the Gondwana sediments were exposed
Potonieisporites concinnus, Indotriradites sp., nearby and were the source rocks for the Upper Bhuban
Cristastisporites sp., Striatites communis, Densipollenites sp., Formation.
Rhizomaspora indica, and Barakarites sp. have been
encountered in the measured section. Most of the reworked 4. Based on the occurence of Striatriletes and fungal
palynomorphs found during the present study are well remains, a warm and humid freshwater depositional
preserved except some broken pollen (Plate I, Figs. 2, 5, 6, 7, environment and tropical to subtropical climate has been
14, 16 and 22), indicating slight pre-depositional corrosion or interpreted during the sedimentation of the Upper Bhuban
abrasion. Such good preservation of derived material may Formation.
reflect a rapid erosion of source sediments, transportation Acknowledgements: YRS and BPS would like to acknowledge the
within sediment clasts and good preservation in the younger Department of Science and Technology, Government of India (Grant
host sediment (McLean 1995). However, due to their No. No. SR/S4/ES-577/2011) for financial support. We thank Prof.
durability, reworked palynomorphs are commonly preserved Ibotombi Soibam, the Head, Department of Earth Sciences, Manipur
University, Imphal for technical help. The authors are grateful to Dr
in pristine condition (e.g., Ravn & Benson 1988; Van de Laar
M.R. Rao and an anonymous reviewer for their valuable suggestions
& Fermont 1989). The source of reworked Permian and comments that improved this paper.
palynomorphs is difficult to determine. However, their
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