Main Article Content

Farooq Ahmed Aimal Khan Kasi M. Mohibullah Razzaq Abdul Manan


Late Cretaceous sandstone succession of the Pab Formation in western Sulaiman Fold Thrust belt Pakistan was investigated for petrology and bulk rock chemistry to determine its source terrain, paleo-weathering and tectonic setting. The formation is mainly comprised of sandstone with reddish to maroon color shale and arenaceous limestone. Texturally, the sandstone is fine to coarse grained, sub-angular to well-rounded and moderately to well sorted. The sandstone is petrologically and geochemically classified as quartz arenite to sub lithic arenite. The detritus was mainly derived from plutonic acidic source. QtFL and QmFLt suggests that recycled orogeny and Craton Interior setting were major sources of sediments. Geochemical models support that the detritus was derived from quartzose sedimentary source terrain, suggest deposition in a passive continental margin setting. Average values of chemical indices are CIA 59% CIW  67% and CIV 12.70%, which suggest moderate to high degree of chemical weathering in source area, that may reflect humid climate condition in the source area. The petrographic study and geochemical models demonstrate that the Pab Formation is mostly composed of mature sandstone from acidic plutonic and low-grade metamorphic rocks terrain in recycled and Craton Interior setting deposited on western passive margin of Indian plate in Tethys Ocean.

Article Details

How to Cite
AHMED, Farooq et al. PETROLOGY AND GEOCHEMISTRY OF THE LATE CRETACEOUS PAB FORMATION, WESTERN SULAIMAN FOLD- THRUST- BELT, PAKISTAN: IMPLICATIONS FOR PROVENANCE AND PALEO-WEATHERING. Journal of Mountain Area Research, [S.l.], v. 6, p. 45-62, dec. 2021. ISSN 2518-850X. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 17 jan. 2022. doi:
Earth Sciences


[1] Basu, Abhijit. "Petrology of Holocene fluvial sand derived from plutonic source rocks; implications to paleoclimatic interpretation."Journal of Sedimentary Research 46 (1976) 694-709.
[2] Mcbride, Earle F. "Diagenetic processes that affect provenance determinations in sandstone." Provenance of arenites. Springer, Dordrecht, (1985)95-113.
[3] Taylor, Stuart Ross, and Scott M. McLennan. "The continental crust: its composition and evolution." (1985).
[4] Bhatia, Mukul R., and Keith AW Crook. "Trace element characteristics of graywackes and tectonic setting discrimination of sedimentary basins." Contributions to mineralogy and petrology 92(1986)181-193.
[5] Pettijohn, F. J., Paul Edwin Potter, and Raymond Siever. "Introduction and source materials." Sand and sandstone. Springer, New York, NY, 1987. 1-21.[6].
[6] Nichols, Gary. "H. Chamley 1990. Sedimentology. x+ 285 pp. Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Barcelona: Springer-Verlag. Price DM 58.00 (soft covers). ISBN 3 540 52376 6 (Berlin), 0 387 52376 6 (New York)." Geological Magazine 128(1991)289-289.
[7] Armstrong-Altrin, J. S., et al. "Geochemistry of sandstones from the upper Miocene Kudankulam Formation, southern India: Implications for provenance, weathering, and tectonic setting."Journal of sedimentary Research 74(2004) 285-297.
[8] Khan, A. S., et al. "Depositional environments and reservoir assessment of Late Cretaceous sandstones in the south central Kirthar foldbelt, Pakistan." Journal of Petroleum Geology 25(2002)373-406.
[9] Umar, M., Friis, H., Khan, A.S., Kassi, A.M., Kasi, A.K., 2011a. The effects of diagenesis on the reservoir characters in sandstones of the Late Cretaceous Pab Formation, Kirthar Fold Belt, southern Pakistan. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences 40, 622–635.
[10] Umar, Muhammad, et al. "Depositional environments of Campanian–Maastrichtian successions in the Kirthar Fold Belt, southwest Pakistan: Tectonic influences on late cretaceous sedimentation across the Indian passive margin." Sedimentary Geology 237.1-2 (2011): 30-45.
[11] Umar, Muhammad, et al. "Sediment composition and provenance of the Pab formation, Kirthar fold belt, Pakistan: Signatures of hot spot volcanism, source area weathering, and paleogeography on the western passive margin of the Indian plate during the Late Cretaceous." Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering 39.1 (2014): 311-324.
[12] Shah, S. M. I. "Stratigraphy of Pakistan (memoirs of the geological survey of Pakistan)." The Geological Survey of Pakistan 22 (2009).
[13] Bender, Friedrich, and Hilal A. Raza. "Geology of Pakistan." (1995).
14 Jadoon, I. A. K., R. D. Lawrence, and R. J. Lillie. "Evolution of foreland structures: An example from the Sulaiman thrust lobe of Pakistan, southwest of the Himalayas." Geological Society, London, Special Publications 74.1 (1993): 589-602.
[15].Kazmi, Ali Hamza, and Riaz A. Rana. Tectonic map of Pakistan 1: 2 000 000: Map showing structural features and tectonic stages in Pakistan. Geological survey of Pakistan, 1982.
[16] Germany. Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, and Dietrich N. Bannert. Pakistan 1: 500,000-The Geology of the Western Fold Belt: Structural Interpretation of LANDSAT-MSS Satellite Imagery. Federal Institute of Geosciences and Natural Resources (BRG), 1992.
[17] Jadoon, Ishtiaq AK, Robert D. Lawrence, and Khan Shahid Hassan. "Mari-Bugti pop-up zone in the
central Sulaiman fold belt, Pakistan." Journal of Structural Geology 16.2 (1994): 147-158.
[18] Kazmi, A. H., and M. Q. Jan. "Geology and Tectonics of Pakistan Graphic Publishers." ISBN: 9698375007, 9789698375003(1997): 554.
[19] Fitzsimmons, Roy, James Buchanan, and Chris Izatt. "The role of outcrop geology in predicting reservoir presence in the Cretaceous and Paleocene successions of the Sulaiman Range, Pakistan." AAPG bulletin 89.2 (2005): 231-254.
[20] Kasi, Aimal Khan, et al. "Revised lithostratigraphy of the Pishin Belt, northwestern Pakistan." Journal of Himalayan Earth Science 45.1 (2012).
[21] Ul-Hadi, Shams, et al. "Slip-rates along the Chaman fault: Implication for transient strain accumulation and strain partitioning along the western Indian plate margin." Tectonophysics 608 (2013): 389-400.
[22] Crupa, Wanda E., et al. "Active tectonic deformation of the western Indian plate boundary: A case study from the Chaman Fault System." Journal of Asian Earth Sciences 147 (2017): 452-468.
[23] Kassi, Akhtar Mohammad, et al. "Contrasting Late Cretaceous–Palaeocene lithostratigraphic successions across the Bibai Thrust, western Sulaiman Fold–Thrust Belt, Pakistan: Their significance in deciphering the early-collisional history of the NW Indian Plate margin." Journal of Asian Earth Sciences 35.5 (2009): 435-444..
[24] Babar, Najeebullah, et al. "Foraminiferal Biostratigraphy of the Eocene Kirthar Formation, western Sulaiman Fold-Thrust Belt, Balochistan, Pakistan." Journal of Himalayan Earth Science 51.2 (2018).
[25] Humayon, Mansoor, Robert J. Lillie, and Robert D. Lawrence. "Structural interpretation of the eastern Sulaiman foldbelt and foredeep, Pakistan." Tectonics 10.2 (1991): 299-324.
[26. Iqbal, Muhammad, et al. "Hydrocarbon exploration perspective in Middle jurassic-early cretaceous reservoirs in the Sulaiman Fold Belt, Pakistan." Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE)/Pakistan Association of Petroleum Geoscientists (PAPG) Annual Technical Conference, Islamabad, Pakistan. 2011.
[27Jadoon, Ishtiaq AK, and Akbar Khurshid. "Gravity and tectonic model across the Sulaiman fold belt and the Chaman fault zone in western Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan." Tectonophysics254.1-2 (1996): 89-109.
[28] Waheed, Abdul, and Neil A. Wells. "Changes in paleocurrents during the development of an obliquely convergent plate boundary (Sulaiman fold-belt, southwestern Himalayas, west-central Pakistan)." Sedimentary Geology 67.3-4 (1990): 237-261.
[29] Vredenburg, E. W. "The Classification of the Tertiary System in Sind with reference to the Zonal Distribution of the Eocene Echinoidea described by Duncan and Sladen." Rec. Geol. Surv. Ind. 34 (1906): 172-198.
[30] Williams, M. D. "19. Stratigraphy of the Lower Indus Basin, West Pakistan." 5th World petroleum congress. OnePetro, 1959.
[31] White, Howard James. The stratigraphy of the southern Pab Range, Pakistan. Diss. Iowa State University, 1981.
[32]Snead, Rodman E. "Recent morphological changes along the coast of West Pakistan 1." Annals of the Association of American Geographers 57.3 (1967): 550-565.
[33] Kassi, AKHTAR MOHAMMAD, et al. "Petrology and grain size characters of the Pab Sandstone of part of the Loralai and Khuzdar Districts." Geological Bulletin University of Peshawar 24 (1991): 99-108.
[34] Moghal, M. Anwar, M. Ishaq Saqi, and M. Athar Jamij. "Hydrocarbon Potential of Tight Sand Reservoir (Pab Sandstone) in Central Indus Basin-Pakistan." Search and Discovery Article50608 (2012).
[35] Fatmi, A. N., and Peter F. Rawson. "The first Early Cretaceous ammonite faunas from Baluchistan." Cretaceous research 14.1 (1993): 91-100.
[36] Dickinson, William R. "Interpreting detrital modes of graywacke and arkose." Journal of Sedimentary Research 40.2 (1970): 695-707.
[37] Dickinson, William R., and Christopher A. Suczek. "Plate tectonics and sandstone compositions." Aapg Bulletin 63.12 (1979): 2164-2182.
[38] Dickinson, William R., et al. "Provenance of North American Phanerozoic sandstones in relation to tectonic setting."Geological Society of America Bulletin 94.2 (1983): 222-235.
[39Pettijohn, F. J., Paul Edwin Potter, and Raymond Siever. "Petrography of Common Sands and Sandstones." Sand and Sandstone. Springer, New York, NY, 1972. 175-260.
[40] Ingersoll, Raymond V., and Christopher A. Suczek. "Petrology and provenance of Neogene sand from Nicobar and Bengal fans, DSDP sites 211 and 218." Journal of Sedimentary Research 49.4 (1979): 1217-1228.
[41]. Zuffa, Gian Gaspare. "Hybrid arenites; their composition and classification." Journal of Sedimentary Research 50.1 (1980): 21-29.
[42] Dickinson, William R. "Interpreting provenance relations from detrital modes of sandstones." Provenance of arenites. Springer, Dordrecht, 1985. 333-361.
[43] Suczek, Christopher A., and Raymond V. Ingersoll. "Petrology and provenance of Cenozoic sand from the Indus Cone and the Arabian Basin, DSDP sites 221, 222, and 224." Journal of Sedimentary Research 55.3 (1985): 340-346.
[44] Graham, Stephan A., Raymond V. Ingersoll, and William R. Dickinson. "Common provenance for lithic grains in Carboniferous sandstones from Ouachita Mountains and Black Warrior Basin." Journal of Sedimentary Research 46.3 (1976): 620-632.
[45] Folk, Robert Louis. "Stages of textural maturity in sedimentary rocks." Journal of Sedimentary Research 21.3 (1951): 127-130.
[46] McLennan, Scott M. "Relationships between the trace element composition of sedimentary rocks and upper continental crust."Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 2.4 (2001).
[47] Bhatia, Mukul R. "Plate tectonics and geochemical composition of sandstones." The Journal of Geology 91.6 (1983): 611-627.
[48] Harker, Alfred. The natural history of igneous rocks. Methuen & Company, 1909.
[49] Hossain, H. M. Z., B. P. Roser, and J-I. Kimura. "Petrography and whole-rock geochemistry of the Tertiary Sylhet succession, northeastern Bengal Basin, Bangladesh: Provenance and source area weathering." Sedimentary Geology 228.3-4 (2010): 171-183.
[50] Crook, Keith AW. "Lithogenesis and geotectonics: the significance of compositional variation in flysch arenites (graywackes)." (1974).
[51] Bhatia, Mukul R. "Plate tectonics and geochemical composition of sandstones." The Journal of Geology 91.6 (1983): 611-627.
[52] Roser, Barry P., and Russell J. Korsch. "Provenance signatures of sandstone-mudstone suites determined using discriminant function analysis of major-element data." Chemical geology 67.1-2 (1988): 119-139.
[53] Feo-Codecido, Gustavo. "Heavy-mineral techniques and their application to Venezuelan stratigraphy." AAPG Bulletin 40.5 (1956): 984-1000.
[54]McLennan, S. M., et al. "Geochemical approaches to sedimentation, provenance, and tectonics." Special Papers-Geological Society of America (1993): 21-21.
[55] Nesbitt, HWp, and G. M. Young. "Early Proterozoic climates and plate motions inferred from major element chemistry of lutites."Nature 299.5885 (1982): 715-717.
[56]. Herron, Michael M. "Geochemical classification of terrigenous sands and shales from core or log data." Journal of Sedimentary Research 58.5 (1988): 820-829.
[57] Cox, Rónadh, Donald R. Lowe, and R. L. Cullers. "The influence of sediment recycling and basement composition on evolution of mudrock chemistry in the southwestern United States."Geochimica et al Cosmochimica Acta 59.14 (1995): 2919-2940.
[58] Fedo, Christopher M., H. Wayne Nesbitt, and Grant M. Young. "Unraveling the effects of potassium metasomatism in sedimentary rocks and paleosols, with implications for paleoweathering conditions and provenance." Geology 23.10 (1995): 921-924.
[59] Cullers, Robert L., and Victor N. Podkovyrov. "Geochemistry of the Mesoproterozoic Lakhanda shales in southeastern Yakutia, Russia: implications for mineralogical and provenance control, and recycling." Precambrian Research 104.1-2 (2000): 77-93.
[60] Cullers, Robert L. "The geochemistry of shales, siltstones and sandstones of Pennsylvanian–Permian age, Colorado, USA: implications for provenance and metamorphic studies." Lithos51.3 (2000): 181-203.
[61] Suttner, Lee J., and Prodip K. Dutta. "Alluvial sandstone composition and paleoclimate; I, Framework mineralogy." Journal of Sedimentary Research 56.3 (1986): 329-345.
[62] Blatt, Harvey, Gerard V. Middleton, and Raymond C. Murray. "Origin of sedimentary rocks." (1972).
[63] Tucker, Maurice E., ed. Sedimentary petrology: an introduction to the origin of sedimentary rocks. John Wiley & Sons, 2001.
[64] Gallala, Wissem, Mohamed Essghaier Gaied, and Mabrouk Montacer. "Detrital mode, mineralogy and geochemistry of the Sidi Aïch Formation (Early Cretaceous) in central and southwestern Tunisia: Implications for provenance, tectonic setting and paleoenvironment." Journal of African Earth Sciences53.4-5 (2009): 159-170.
[65] Sultan, Mahmood, and M. Gipson Jr. "RESERVOIR POTENTIAL OF THE MAASTRICHTIAN PAB SANDSTONE IN THE EASTERN SULAIMAN FOLD‐BELT, PAKISTAN."Journal of Petroleum Geology 18.3 (1995): 309-328..
[66] Umar, Muhammad. Facies Distribution, Depositional Environments, Provenance and Reservoir Characters of Upper Cretaceous Succession Kirthar Fold Belt Pakistan. Diss. University of Balochistan Quetta, 2007.
[67] Muhammad Afzal Kakar, Shahid Ghazi, Abdul Salam Khan, Akhtar Mohammed Kasi And Tanzila hanif “Petrology and provenance of the upper cretaceous mughal kot formation and pab sandstone, western Sulaiman thrust and fold belt, Pakistan” Geol. Bull. Punjab Univ. 45, (2010,) 1-23
[68] Durrani, Razzaq Abdul Manan, Akhtar Mohammed Kassi, and Aimal Khan Kasi. "Petrology and provenance of the sandstone channel succession within the Jurassic Loralai Formation, Sulaiman Fold-Thrust Belt, Pakistan." Journal of Himalayan Earth Science 45.1 (2012).
[69] Ismail, Muhammad, et al. "Detrital modes in Lower Mesozoic sandstone of the Wulgai Formation (Pakistan): implications for provenance." Journal of Himalayan Earth Science 53.2 (2020)
[70] Davies .R.G & Crawford, A R., 1971. Petrography and age of the rocks of Bulland hill, kirana hills Saraghodha District, West Pakistan. Geological Magazine 108(3), 235-146
[71] Ali, ZJ, R&Aitchison, J. C2008.Gondwana to Asia: plate tectonic, paleogeography and the biological connectivity of the Indian sub-continent from the Middle Jurassic through late Eocene (166-35ma). Earth science Review, 88(3-4)’145-166.
[72] Gnos, E., A. Immenhauser, and T. J. Peters. "Late Cretaceous/early Tertiary convergence between the Indian and Arabian plates recorded in ophiolites and related sediments."Tectonophysics 271.1-2 (1997): 1-19.
[73] Burke, K. C., et al. "Tectonics of Basaltic Volcanism. From: Basaltic Volcanism Study Project, 1981." (1981): 1286.
[74] Gnos, Edwin, et al. "Bela oceanic lithosphere assemblage and its relation to the Reunion hotspot." Terra Nova-Oxford 10.2 (1998): 90-95.
[75] Niamatullah, Mohammad “Anomalous orientation of the Khude Range Fold Belt and enigma of Khuzdar Syntaxis in Southern Kirthar Fold Belt, Pakistan” Acta Mineralogica Pakistanica, 9