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ISSN: 2277-3754

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International Journal of Engineering and Innovative Technology (IJEIT)
Volume 2, Issue 7, January 2013

Establishment of Lithostratigraphy of Some

Banded Iron Formations of Iron Ore Super group of
Odisha, India
B. Satpathy, D. Beura
Essel Mining & Industries Ltd, Barbil, Keonjhar, Odisha
P.G. Department of Geology, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar-4, Odisha
known [12]. BIF is considered as the litho-marker in all
these three belts of IOSG. The litho members of BIF
include Banded Hematite Quartzite (BHQ), Banded
Hematite Jasper (BHJ), Banded Hematite Shale (BHS),
Banded Shale, Banded Manganese Formation (BMnF),
and Ferruginous Shale and Iron ore bodies. Banded
Hematite Jasper (BHJ) and Banded Hematite Quartzite
(BHQ) are the predominant rock types in the study area
characterized by alternate bands of iron mineral and silica
of varying thickness. Banded shale shows bands of
different colours and occurs at the base of BIF. The
ferruginous shales younger to BIF occur discontinuously
in the area. The iron mineral in the basin is predominately
oxide facies [13]. The iron oxide minerals are hematite,
martyrised magnetite, martite, specularite and goethite,
where hematite is abundant and predominant mineral.
Silica occurs as chert, jasper and quartz. The mineral
assemblages reveal primary sedimentary signatures and
subsequently modified by digenesis and metamorphism
[14], as in [9]. The iron minerals are formed by the
common processes like martyrisation, goethitisation and
hematitisation. Hematite is the pre-dominant mineral in
the study area.

Abstract- Banded Iron Formation (BIF) hosting the iron

ores occur in three iron ore groups encircling the North
Odisha Iron Ore Craton (NOIOC), which is known as Iron
Ore Super Group (IOSG) of Odisha. The famous BonaiKeonjhar belt is one of the three belts that forms an important
part of the Archean supracrustals of IOSG. BIF, the bicomponent rock along with iron ore has spatial and vertical
disposition with varying litho-morphological characteristics
throughout the belt. Lithological investigations are carried out
in the mine sections and exploratory bore hole logging of
Bansapani, Jajang and Jilling areas of the eastern limb of
Bonai-Keonjhar belt. These observations are utilised to
establish the lithostratigraphy of the banded iron formation
bearing crustal blocks.
Index Terms- Banded Iron Formation, Bonai-Keonjhar
belt, Lithostratigraphy, Odisha.

The state of Odisha comprising of vast quantity of iron
ore deposits has been evolved as the highest iron ore
producing state in India. Banded iron formations form a
major component of the Precambrian greenstone belts
and similar supracrustals the world over [1], [2], which
hosts the iron ores in Odisha. The three iron ore groups
structuring Iron Ore Super Group (IOSG) [3]-[7] are
confined to the periphery of the North Odisha Iron Ore
Craton (NOIOC) [8]-[10] (Fig.1). Three prominent
provinces comprising BIFs such as BadampaharGorumahisani-Suleipat belt, Daitari-Tomka belt and
Bonai-Keonjhar belt constitute the Iron Ore Supergroup
of Odisha, which have been designated as BIF-I, BIF-II
and BIF-III respectively as in [6]. The ArchaeanProterozoic met sediments including the banded iron
formation of the IOSG have been well developed in
Bonai-Keonjhar belt. The Bonai-Keonjhar belt popularly
famous as Horse-Shoe belt is the youngest one in the
three tire classification of BIF and known as BIF-III.
Field investigations are made in Bansapani-Jilling-Jajang
longitude852500- 852600), which is located in the eastern
limb of Bonai- Keonjhar belt in the Keonjhar district,
Odisha and forms a part of Survey of India top sheet
number 73G/5.The iron ore basins have been studied in
detail by Acharya and has unravelled the stratigraphy and
structure of the basins [11] and their role in prospecting
of the ore bodies. A good amount of details on the infra-,
intra- and supra- BIF nature of ore deposits have been


The Iron Ore Super Group of Odisha comprising three
BIFs occurs along the periphery of Archaean continental
nucleus i.e. the North Odisha Iron Ore Craton (NOIOC).
This cratonic block in the Precambrian track of Odisha
and Jharkhand is bounded by the arcuate copper belt
thrust zone (Singhbhum shear zone) in the north and
Sukinda chromites belt thrust zone in the south (Fig.1).
The major part of it is occupied by Singhbhum granite
complex. The Older Metamorphic Group (OMG)
constitutes the oldest unit in the Archaean nucleus and
consists of amphibolites facies pelitic schists, quartzmagnetite cummingtonite schists, quartzites, banded calcgneiss, and para- and orthoamphibolites. The OMG rocks
are intruded by the Older Metamorphic Tonalitic Gneiss
(OMTG). The Banspani-Jilling-Jajang area comes under
eastern limb of the U-shaped Bonai-Keonjhar
synclinorium, which lies in the western flank of wellknown North Odisha Iron Ore Craton as in [8]-[10]. The
eastern limb also contains Thakurani, Joda, Jaribahal,
Malangtoli deposits (Fig.2.A). The Bonai-Keonjhar belt
has been assigned the status of Iron Ore Group of
Proterozoic age [15] and later the litho-associations of


ISSN: 2277-3754
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International Journal of Engineering and Innovative Technology (IJEIT)
Volume 2, Issue 7, January 2013
this group was considered as the youngest in the Iron Ore
Older shales
Banded chert shale
Super group of North Odisha and named as BIF-III as in
Banded coloured shale
[5],[6], [14]. The BIF members of volcano-sedimentary
Variegated shale
designate are abundant rock units of the area. They
Mn-rich shale including
include banded hematite quartzite (BHQ), banded
BMF (Banded Manganese
hematite jasper (BHJ), banded hematite shale (BHS),
Formation) and wad at the
banded hematite chart (BHC), banded shale, ferruginous
shale, and iron ore bodies (Fig.2.B). Banded hematite
Pyrite bearing shale
jasper is noted profusely and considered as the
Tuffites and Fe-shales
predominant rock unit in the area. The banded shale
exhibits different color bands alternately and located
alternately with BIF. There is sporadic occurrence of
gradational contact above
Keonjharferruginous shales, lateralized shales and tuffaceous
and intratrappean sandstone
shale. The rocks of this youngest Iron ore belt have
top word.
Dhanjori sandstone (arenite
with intercalated shale (FeSometimes they suffer from very low grade
metamorphism, which is very rare event. The general
Basal conglomerate
trend of the study area is in NNE direction having low
plunge. The structure of the rock of this area is
complicated due to several fold movements. The axis of
the major fold is N-S. The ore bodies are laid down in the
synform with their axes plunging due south and north.
Specifically the Langalota ore body, the northern part
plunges due north and southern part plunges due south.
Rocks are subjected to polyphase deformation with
maximum of three phases of folding. This results in
forming more open type cross folding, which develops
wide spread dome and basin patterns due to interference
of folds. The area encounters random faults of various
dimensions trending in N-S direction. The rocks of the
area have not undergone metamorphism The stratigraphic
sequence of the Bansapani-Jilling-Jajang is same as that
of the regional stratigraphy, which is given in Table 1
Table 1: General Stratigraphic Succession of BIF of Study
Area, Modified After [16]




Younger Shales



Group (BIFIII)


Kolhan sandstone

Ferruginous shale
Volcanics with BIF
BIF and iron ores with
variants (Supra-BIF Ore)
Ultra basics ( intrusion time
not exactly known)
Banded hematite / magnetite
/ siderite / pyrite
jasper / chert / shale (Ferich), (intra-BIF ore )
Infra-BIF-Iron ores
(impersistent )
Stromatolitic dolomite
Algal mat in shale (Fe-rich)
Yellow shale (tuff and


ISSN: 2277-3754
ISO 9001:2008 Certified
International Journal of Engineering and Innovative Technology (IJEIT)
Volume 2, Issue 7, January 2013
of massive iron ore occurs in a vertical stretch ranging
from 7 to 62 metres. BHQ and BHJ occur below the iron
ores. Nearly similar situation prevails in the eastern part
of the Jajang-Langalota block except two shale layers,
one lying at the top and the other one is confined within
the massive iron ore.

Fig 3: Bore Hole Litho-Logging and Succession Of JajangLangalota Block

Similar type of exercise concerning to the litho

succession has been undertaken in Gangaigora, Jilling
and Bansapani blocks (Fig.4). It is interesting to note that
there is no iron ore in true sense layer encountered within
a depth of 157 metres. Only weathered BHQ and BHJ
simulating iron ores are appeared alternate to the shale
layers. In both Jilling and Banspani blocks iron ores of
different types are found on the upper portioned followed
at depth by other BIF members. Based upon the sub
surface studies at different locations a lithostratigraphic
succession of the study area is established (Fig.5).

Fig 2: A. Generalized Geological Map of Horse Shoe Belt,

Modified After [17] B. Geological Map of Banspani-JillingJajang Area


Banspani-Jilling-Jajang area of BK belt has been
investigated lithologically through geological mapping
process and bore hole data analysis. The BIF and iron ore
exposures are observed in the mine sections of the
working Banspani-Jilling-Langalota Mines. In other areas
the litho units are exposed sporadically due to random
lateritic overburden of unequal thickness. About 10
lithological mappable units such as top shale, laterite / top
soil, recemented ore / float ore, hard massive ore,
laminated ore, friable ore, lateritic ore, BHJ/ BHQ,
manganiferrous shale, chert & quartzite and tuffaceous
shale have been identified and enlisted for litho
stratigraphic reconstruction Banded iron formations
exhibit distinctive feature of layering of iron-rich and
silica rich bands in them. The individual lamina thickness
ranges from less than a millimetre to several centimetres.
Fractures are seen almost all along the exposed benches
that are mostly in-filled by laterite/limonite/shale.
Haematitic iron ore bodies are abundantly occurred near
the surface or very close to the surface under the cover of
lateritic soil, laterite and in some cases directly below
lateritic type of iron ores. The litho assemblages in the
area may be grouped in three types such as (1) BIF, (2)
Iron ore and (3) associated rocks. Bore hole litho-logging
has been taken up at different parts of Jajang-Langalota
block (Fig.3). In the western part of this belt litho
succession has been studied upto a maximum depth of
140 metres. It is found that different types of iron ores are
confined to the upper portion till a depth of 70 metres.
Below it the BIF members like BHJ, BHQ, chert, and
shale appear repeatedly. In the central part a thicken layer

Fig 4: Bore Hole Litho-Logging and Succession of

Gangaigora, Jilling and Bansapani Blocks


ISSN: 2277-3754
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International Journal of Engineering and Innovative Technology (IJEIT)
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Fig 5: Sub-Surface Litho logical Disposition of the Study

Area Representing the Litho-Stratigraphy

Fig 6: Representative Fence Diagram Showing Litho logical

Setting and Sequence of the Study Area

The topographical profiles along various section lines

have been converted into the geological fence diagram for
each block of the study area i.e. Banspani-Jilling- Jajang
area with the help of data obtained from the boreholes
drilled (both present and old exploration) (Fig.6 ) [18].
The geological fence diagrams are prepared along all
section lines where boreholes were drilled to address the
qualitative part correlating to the lithological setting. As
far as lithological data is concerned five major litho units
viz. Top Laterite / Soil, Lateritic Ore, Main Iron ore zone,
Iron Ore contaminated with either shale or clay and the
bottom formations have been identified. While
constructing these geological fence diagrams, not only the
contacts intersected in borehole were considered but also
reasonable geological trends were taken into account.
From the field observation and exploration report the
following lithostratigraphy has been worked out in the
Banspani-Jilling-Jajang area. Mixed facies formation (?)
shale (top) ---- Max.20 mtrs----Avgs thickness 12 mtrs
Iron ore-----Max.76 mtrs--- Avgs thickness 38 mtrs Shale
(Parting) -----Max. 4 mtrs--- Avgs thickness 03 mtrs
BHJ----- Max. 3 mtrs--- Avgs thickness 02 mtrs Bottom
Shale----- Max. 7 mtrs--- Avgs thickness 04 mtrs

The Bonai-Keonjhar belt is one of the three promising
iron ore producing horizons of the Iron Ore Super Group
of Odisha. A detailed lithological study is carried out at
the surface, mine cross sections and subsurface around
the study area to establish lithostratigraphy of the area. In
the Banspani-Jilling-Jajang area Banded Iron Formations
of the Precambrian age is found to be the host rock of
iron ores constituting BHJ as major rock unit. Iron ores
directly rests over the BHJ or BHQ in almost all case
excepting some places where it sits on the shale. The
thickness of overlying iron ores varies in wide range in
comparison to the underlying BIFs and other litho units.
During the course of investigation no iron ore layer is
found at depth below the BHJ/BHQ. The
shale/ferruginous shale horizon makes a random
appearance irrespective of depth. Shale (bottom) of the
mixed facies formation overlies the tuffaceous shale of
the volcanic formation. The shales are interbedded with
cherty band, which is grey in colour, often ferruginous
and manganiferous. The Banded Hematite Jasper (BHJ)
formation overlies the shale bottom. Though
stratigraphically iron ore overlies BHJ, but at many
places it directly overlies shale. The iron ore bodies are
interbedded with thin bands of shale similar in nature to
the bottom or top shale and are extensively lateritised.
The shale (top) overlies the iron ore and is similar in
physical characteristics to the bottom shale. It is often
silicified and hard.
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[3] G.H. S. V. Prasad Rao, Y.G.K. Murthy and M.N.
Deekshitulu, Stratigraphic relation of Precambrian iron
formations and associated sedimentary sequences in parts


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International Journal of Engineering and Innovative Technology (IJEIT)
Volume 2, Issue 7, January 2013
of Keonjhar, Cuttack, Dhenkanal and Sundargarh districts,
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[4] S. Acharya, Iron formation and iron ores of Orissa their
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