The interaction between geological structure and global tectonics in multistoreyed landscape development: a denudation chronology of the South Indian shield
This study constitutes a comprehensive attempt to interpret the multistoreyed benchland scenery of the South Indian shield. In South India, two rifted margins (and now competing base levels), a low-elevation margin facing the Bay of Bengal, in existence since ≈130 Ma, and a younger (65 Ma) high-elevation margin facing the Arabian Sea, together with a highstanding backbone of extremely resistant granulitic rocks known as charnockites, have influenced the long-term erosional response to rock uplift and to the eustatic shift of shorelines in a complex way. Several tiers of flat-lying, denudational topographic surfaces, which are indifferent to stratification, schistosity or foliation and highlighted by a characteristic weathering mantle, are identified and the conditions of their genesis discussed. General definitions and assumptions concerning the evolution of planation surfaces are presented. A major key issue is the nature of crustal uplift in cratonic regions: its relation to global tectonics, its role in the redistribution in time and space of available relief and in the deformation of pre-existing planation surfaces, and its bearing on denudational signals which may be recorded both by isotopic measurement techniques and offshore sedimentary sequences. The proposed denudation chronology considers all these aspects, and the analysis sets out to establish a thread of geodynamic events that can account for the observed morphology. Drainage, weathering and crustal uplift patterns, geological structures and chronostratigraphic data are examined in relation to their possible connections with the migration of drainage divides and surface lowering patterns. The high number of degrees of freedom involved when considering the long-term interplay between gravity-driven and radiation-driven denudation systems is one of the many problems facing this analysis, and is extensively addressed in the discussion.