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MY FIRST

GEOLOGICAL
EXPEDITION
A FIELD TRIP TO KHEWRA SALT MINE, KHEWRA GORGE & NEELA
WAHN GORGE

ST

ABDUL WAHAB KHAN


SEMESTER MSc. GEOPHYSICS
4TH MAY, 2015.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
CONTENT

PAG
E
NO

i.

PREFACE

ii.

AKNOWLEDGEMENT

1. INTRODUCTION
1.1INRTODUCTION TO THE AREA
1.2INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY

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3
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2. LOCATION OF THE AREA


2.1GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION
2.2TECTONIC LOCATION

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4
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3. OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

4. GEOLOGY OF THE AREA


4.1IDENTIFIED LITHOLOGY
4.1.1 STRATIGRAPHIC COLUMN
4.2IDENTIFIED STRUCTURES
4.3TASKS
4.3.1 IDENTIFIYING ROCKS
4.3.2 USE OF BRUNTON COMPASS
4.3.3
CALCULATING STRIKE AND DIP

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5. REFERENCES

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PREFACE

Today's students are tomorrow's decision-makers, whether


their future careers are in politics, finance, technology,
medicine, geology, or other sciences. It is their decisions that
collectively will decide the fate of our planet-earth. My teachers
in Dept. of Earth sciences ensure that their students have the
opportunity to obtain a sound understanding of the Earth so
that they are equipped to make informed, environmentally
responsible decisions in their future careers.
I had the opportunity to visit Pakistan's unique field museum of
geology and paleontology and found it a wonderful experience.
I convey the message that understanding the Earth is exciting,
and that it enriches and heightens our sense of awareness of
the world around us.
Our field trip to Eastern Salt Range was to recognize and
understand various lithologies and structures in the
sedimentary strata ranging from the Pre-Cambrian to recent
age of the geologic time scale. If, at the end of my report, you
feel the urge to have a glance over again, then I will have
definitely paid due regard to all that I have learned during my
field trip.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

We live in amazing times. In the past few decades we


have learned an enormous amount about our Earth, and new
information confronts us almost daily. We can scarcely watch
the news or read a newspaper without learning of some new
and exciting discovery related to Earth. This information had
come at such a bewildering pace, that it was difficult to
assimilate it all without the help of my teachers.
I feel highly obliged to the Dept. of Earth Sciences for arranging
this field trip which augmented a hands-on chapter to my all
my learning so far. It has greatly improved my understanding of
all the theoretical knowledge that I have gained.
My teachers at the field encouraged and taught me on every
step of the way. Their expertise and cheerfulness kept me
motivated and ensured my keen interest in learning out there.
Dr. Aamir Ali, Dr. Anwar Qadir and Mr. Jamil Siddique satisfied
my curiosity and made it a pleasurable experience as they
navigated us through all of the members, formations and
groups of the Eastern Salt Range that we observed. I am greatly
indebted to Dr. Mona Lisa for opening the door to various
tactics of report-writing which made substantial improvements
to this text.

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 INTRODUCTION TO THE AREA


The Salt Range contains the most important geologic and
paleontologic localities in Pakistan, and is one of the
outstanding field areas in the entire world. Despite its easy
accessibility, it has a wealth of geological and paleontological
features. In fact, it represents an open book of geology where
various richly fossiliferous stratified rocks are very well exposed
due to lack of vegetation. These rocks also provide an excellent
opportunity for appreciation of tectonics in the field. (Sameeni,
2009)

1.2 INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY


A three-day field trip was carried out i.e. 24 th April, 2015 to 26th
April, 2015. Our target location was Khewra Gorge and the Salt
Mine. The focus of the study was to acquaint ourselves with the
knowledge of sedimentary rocks and structural features in the
Eastern Salt Range.

2. LOCATION OF THE AREA


2.1 GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION
The Salt Range is confined between 3218N to 3306N
and
7150E
to
7345E.

Figure 1.Location Map of Khewra

2.2 TECTONIC LOCATION

Figure 2. Location of the study area with reference to regional tectonic


framework

3. OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

Identifying and Differentiating Rocks


Lithological Correlation
Stratigraphic Relationship
Observing Sedimentary Structures
Marking Unconformity
Understanding Environment of Deposition of Formations
Measurement of Strike and Dip

4. GEOLOGY OF THE AREA


4.1 IDENTIFIED LITHOLOGY
A.

Salt Range Formation:

Synonym: Wynne (1878) named and described the formation


as Saline Series. Gee (1945) called the same unit as Punjab
Saline Series. The present name, the Salt Range Formation has
been given by Asrarullah (1967).
Type Locality: Punjab, Khewra Gorge in the eastern Salt Range
has been designated as its type locality.
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Age: The age of Salt Range Formation is late Precambrian or


early Cambrian.
Lithology: The lower part of the Salt Range Formation is
composed of red-coloured gypseous marl with thick seems of
salt while the beds of gypsum, dolomite, greenish clay and low
grade oil shale are the constituents of the upper part. A highly
weathered igneous body known as Khewra Trap has been
reported from the upper part of the formation. It consists of
highly decomposed radiating needles of a light-coloured
mineral, probably pyroxene. The red-coloured marl consists
chiefly of clay, gypsum and dolomite with occasional grains and
crystals of quartz of variable size. Thick-bedded salt shows
various shades of pink colour and well-developed laminations
and colour bandings upto a metre thick. The gypsum is white to
grey in colour. It is about 45m thick, massive and is associated
with bluish grey, clayey gypsum. The dolomite is usually light
grey in colour and flaggy.
It has three members:
1. Sahwal Marl Member.
2. Bhandar Kas Gypsum Member.
3. Billianwala Salt Member.
Contacts: Its upper contact is with Khewra Sandstone which is
normal and conformable and lower contact with metamorphic
rocks of Precambrian age.

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Figure 3. Gypsum beds of Salt Range Formation in Khewra Gorge.

B.

Khewra Sandstone Formation:

Synonym: The name was originally proposed by Noetling


(1894) as Khewra Group. Prior to that Wynne (1878) called the
formation Purple Sandstone Series and this name was
continued until recently when the name of the formation was
formalized as Khewra Sandstone by the Stratigraphic
Committee of Pakistan.
Type Locality: The type locality is in Khewra Gorge near
Khewra Town, Salt Range.
Age: The age of Khewra Sandstone is early Cambrian.
Lithology: The formation consists predominantly of purple to
brown and yellowish brown fine-grained sandstone. The
lowermost part of the formation is red flaggy shale. The
sandstone is mostly thick bedded to massive. The Khewra
Sandstone is widely distributed throughout the Salt Range.

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Contacts: Upper contact is with Kussak Formation which is


gradational and lower contact with Salt Range Formation.

Figure 4. Purple sandstone with honey comb weathering in Khewra


Sandstone.
C. Kussak Formation:
Synonym: Wynne (1878) applied the name Obulus beds or
Siphonotreta beds to a predominantly greenish grey,
glauconitic, micaceous sandstone and siltstone. Waagen (1895)
used the name Neobolus beds for the same unit. Noetling
(1894) proposed the name Kussak Group and finally the
Stratigraphic Committee of Pakistan named the Formation as
Kussak Formation.
Type Locality: The type locality lies near the Kussak Fort in
the eastern part of the Salt Range.
Age: The age of the formation is either late early or early
middle Cambrian.
Lithology: The formation is composed of greenish-grey,
gluconitic, micaceous sandstone, greenish-grey siltstone,
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interbedded with light grey dolomite and some oolitic,


arenaceous dolomite. Numerous layers of intraformatinal
conglomerate are present. Pink gypsum lenses are present near
the top. The general lithology throughout the formation is
uniform. However, thickness vary at different places.
Contacts: Upper contact is with Jutana Formation which is
conformable and lower contact with Khewra Sandstone which is
gradational.

Figure 5. Shale and micaceous silt stone of Kussak Formation.


D. Jutana Formation:
Synonym: Fleming (1853) named this unit Magnesian
sandstone. Noetling (1894) described it as Jutana Stage. The
Stratigraphic Committee of Pakistan formalized the name as
Jutana Formation.
Type Locality: The type locality lies near Jutana Village in the
eastern Salt Range.
Age: It is early middle Cambrian or late early Cambrian.
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Lithology: At the type locality the lower part of the formation


consists of light green, hard massive, partly sandy dolomite and
the upper part is composed of light green to dirty white
massive dolomite. In the upper part, brecciated dolomite is also
present with matrix and fragments consisting of same rock.
Contact: The formation is conformably underlain by the Kussak
Formation and conformably overlain by the Baghanwala
Formation.

Figure 6. Massive dolomite of Jutana Formation.

E.Baghanwala Formation:
Synonym: The name Baghanwala Formation is now given to
the rocks of the Pseudomorph Salt Crystal Zone of the Wynne
(1878) and the Baghanwala Group of Noetling (1894). Holland
(1926) called these beds Salt Pseudomorph be
ds
and
Pascoe (1959) named them Baghanwala Stage.
Type Locality: It is near Baghanwala Village in the Eastern Salt
Range.
Age: Early middle Cambrian
Lithology: The formation is composed of red shale and clay,
alternating with flaggy sandstone. The flaggy sandstone
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exhibits several colours including pink grey or blue green,


especially in the lower half of the formation.
Contact: The contact of the Baghanwala Formation with the
overlying Tobra Formation is unconformable, whereas the lower
contact with the Jutana Formation is conformable.

Figure 7. Flaggy sandstone beds and shales in Baghanwala Formation.

F. Tobra Formation:
Synonym: It was previously known in the literature as Talchir
Boulder Bed or Talchir Stage of Gee and Salt Range Boulder
Bed of Teichert (1967).
Type Locality: The type locality is located near Tobra Village in
the eastern Salt Range.
Age: Early Permian
Lithology: The Tobra Formation depicts a very mixed lithology
in which the following three facies are recognized
1. Tillitic facies exposed in the eastern Salt Range. This rock
unit grades into marine sandstone containing Eurydesma
and Conularia fauna
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2. Freshwater facies with few or no boulders. It is an


alternating facies of siltstone and shale containing spore
flora.
3. A complex facies of diamictite, sandstone and boulder
bed.
In the eastern Salt Range the Tobra Formation exhibits true
trillite; the rock unit is composed of boulders of granite with
fragments of quartz, feldspar, magnetite, garnet, clay stone,
siltstone, quartzite, bituminous shale and gneiss. The matrix of
the conglomerate bed is generally clayey, sandy and at some
places calcareous.
Contact: Upper contact with Dandot Formation which is
gradational lower contact with Cambrian rocks (Baghanwala
Sandstone) which is disconformable.

Figure 8. Tilatic facies of Tobra Formation.

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4.1.1 STRATIGRAPHIC COLUMN


AGE

GROUP

FORMATION

Early Permian

Nilawahan Group

Sardhai Formation
Warchha Formation
Dondot Formation
Tobra Formation

MAJOR UNCONFORMITY
Middle and Early
Cambrian

Jehlum Group

Baghanwala
Formation (Salt
Pseudomorph Beds)
Jutana Formation
(Magnesium
Sandstone)
Kussak Formation
(Glauconitic
Sandstone)
Khewra Sandstone
(Purple Sandstone)

Pre Cambrian

Salt Range
Formation (Saline
Series)

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4.2 INDENTIFIED STRUCTURES


A.

Ripple Marks:

Ripple cross-laminae forms when deposition takes place


during migration of current or wave ripples. A series of crosslaminae are produced by superimposing migrating ripples.
The ripples form lateral to one another, such that the crests
of vertically succeeding laminae are out of phase and appear
to be advancing upslope. This process results in crossbedded units that have the general appearance of waves in
outcrop sections cut normal to the wave crests. In sections
with other orientations, the laminae may appear horizontal
or trough-shaped, depending upon the orientation and the
shape of the ripples. Ripple cross-laminae will always have a
steeper dip downstream, and will always be perpendicular to
paleo flow meaning the orientation of the ripples will be in a
direction that is ninety degrees to the direction that current if
flowing. Scientists suggest current drag, or the slowing of
current velocity, during deposition is believed to be
responsible for ripple cross-laminae. In the field we identified
ripple
marks
in
Khewra
Sandstone .

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Figure 9. Ripple Marks

B.

Cross Bedding:

In geology, the sedimentary structures known as cross-bedding refer to (near-)


horizontal units that are internally composed of inclined layers. This is a case in
geology in which the original depositional layering is tilted, and the tilting is not
a result of post-depositional deformation. Cross-beds or "sets" are the groups of
inclined layers, and the inclined layers are known as cross strata.
Cross bedding forms during deposition on the inclined surfaces of bedforms
such as ripples and dunes, and indicates that the depositional environment
contained a flowing medium (typically water or wind). Examples of these
bedforms are ripples, dunes, anti-dunes, sand waves, hummocks, bars, and delta
slopes. In the field we observed cross bedding in Khewra Sandstone.

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Figure 10.Cross Bedding

C.Mud Cracks:
Mud cracks (also known as desiccation cracks or mud cracks) are sedimentary
structures formed as muddy sediment dries and contracts. Naturally forming
mud cracks start as wet, muddy sediments desiccates, causing contraction. A
strain is developed because the top layer tries to shrink while the material below
stays the same size. When this strain becomes large enough, channel cracks
form in the desiccated surface material, relieving the strain. Individual cracks
spread and join up forming a polygonal, interconnected network. These cracks
may later be filled with sediment and form casts on the base of the overlying
bed.

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Figure 11. Mud Cracks

D.

Honey Comb Weathering:

Honeycomb weathering, also known as fretting, cavernous weathering,


alveoli/alveolar weathering, stone lattice, stone lace is a type of salt weathering
common on coastal and semi-arid granites, sandstones and limestone.
Honeycomb weathering is not limited to natural settings and can be seen to
develop on buildings where a rate of development can be established. This rate
can be as fast as several centimeters in 100 years.

Cause
For honeycomb weathering to occur, a source of salt is needed because the basic
mechanism for this kind of weathering is salt heaving. Salt is deposited on the
surface of the rock by saltwater spray or by wind. Moisture must be present to
allow for the salt to settle on the rocks so that as the salt solution evaporates the
salt begins to crystallize within the pore-spaces of the rock. Porous rock is also
needed so that there are pore-spaces for the salt to crystallize within. These salt
crystals pry apart the mineral grains, leaving them vulnerable to other forms of
weathering. It takes prolonged periods for this weathering to become visible, as
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the rock goes through cycles of wetting and drying. We observed the honey
comb weathering in Khewra Sandstone.

Figure 12. Honey Comb Weathering

E. Convolute Bedding:

Convolute bedding forms when complex folding and crumpling


of beds or laminations occur. This type of deformation is found
in fine or silty sands, and is usually confined to one rock layer.
Convolute laminations are found in flood plain, delta, point-bar,
and intertidal-flat deposits. They generally range in size from 3
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to 25 cm, but there have been larger formations recorded as


several meters thick. We also observed it in Khewra sandstone.

Figure 13. Convolute Bedding

F. Pseudo morph Salt Crystals:


In mineralogy, a pseudo morph is a mineral or mineral
compound that appears in an atypical form (crystal system),
resulting from a substitution process in which the appearance
and dimensions remain constant, but the original mineral is
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replaced by another. The name literally means "false form". We


observed it in Baghanwala Formation.

Figure 14. Pseudo morph Salt Crystals

G.

Load Casts:

Load casts or Sole marks are sedimentary structures found on


the bases of certain strata that indicate small-scale (usually on
the order of centimeters) grooves or irregularities. This usually
occurs at the interface of two differing lithologies and/or grain
sizes. They are commonly preserved as casts of these indents
on the bottom of the overlying bed (like flute casts). This is
similar to casts and molds in fossil preservation. Occurring as
they do only at the bottom of beds.

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Figure 15. Load Casts


H. Hollow Structures:

Figure 16.These are Hollow structures which are found in Salt Range
Formation.
I. Chopboard Weathering:
We observed chopboard weathering in Jutana Dolomite.
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Figure 17. Chopboard Weathering


J. STALACTITES

Figure 18. Stalactites

K.

Burrows:
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Figure 20. Burrows

4.3TASKS
4.3.1 IDENTIFYING SEDIMENTARY ROCKS
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We identified sedimentary rocks on the basis of their

Colour
Clast Size
Hardness
Texture
Effervescence

4.3.2 USE OF BRUNTON COMPASS


The Brunton compass is used by more geologists for field
mapping of geological objects than other brands. This
preference, especially in North America, is because Brunton
provides a precise sighting-clinometer and hand level
capability, and can be used at both waist and eye levels;
advantages that are absent in other brands such as Silva which
lacks a leveling system for sighting bearings (Compton, 1985).

Figure 21. A Brunton Compass

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4.3.3 CALCULATING STRIKE AND DIP WITH


BRUNTON COMPASS

A bed was assigned to each group to find out its strike and dip
by employing Brunton Compass, I obtained the readings stated
below
Strike
Dip

N 76 E
11 NW

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5. REFERENCES
1. Compton, R. R., 1985. Geology in the Field. John Wiley &
Sons, New York, 398p.
2. SAMEENI S.J. (2009). - The Salt Range: Pakistan's unique
field museum of geology and paleontology. - In: LIPPS J.H.
& GRANIER B.R.C. (eds.), PaleoParks - The protection and
conservation of fossil sites worldwide.- Carnets de
Gologie / Notebooks on Geology, Brest, Book 2009/03,
Chapter 6

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