K-T transition in Deccan Traps of central India marks major marine Seaway across India

Gerta Keller, T. Adatte, S. Bajpai, D. M. Mohabey, M. Widdowson, A. Khosla, R. Sharma, S. C. Khosla, B. Gertsch, D. Fleitmann, A. Sahni

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Deccan intertrappean sediments in central India are generally considered as terrestrial deposits of Maastrichtian age, but the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) position is still unknown. Here we report the discovery of the K-T transition, a marine incursion and environmental changes preserved within the intertrappean sediments at Jhilmili, Chhindwara District, Madhya Pradesh. Integrative biostratigraphic, sedimentologic, mineralogic and chemostratigraphic analyses reveal the basal Danian in the intertrappean sediments between lower and upper trap basalts that regionally correspond to C29r and the C29R/C29N transition, respectively. Intertrappean deposition occurred in predominantly terrestrial semi-humid to arid environments. But a short aquatic interval of fresh water ponds and lakes followed by shallow coastal marine conditions with brackish marine ostracods and early Danian zone P1a planktic foraminifera mark this interval very close to the K-T boundary. This marine incursion marks the existence of a nearby seaway, probably extending inland from the west through the Narmada and Tapti rift valleys. The Jhilmili results thus identify the K-T boundary near the end of the main phase of Deccan eruptions and indicate that a major seaway extended at least 800 km across India.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-23
Number of pages14
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - May 30 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


  • Deccan volcanism
  • K-T boundary
  • central India Seaway


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