First find of the Early Permian Lower Gondwana plant remains and palynomorphs from the Chhongtash Formation (Upper Shyok valley), eastern Karakoram, India
Keywords:Lower Gondwana, Plant fossils, Early Permian, Chhongtash Formation, India
A sedimentary sequence mainly consists of black shale, siltstone, calcareous sandstone and dark argillaceous limestone overlying pillow lava and thinly bedded limestone of the Chhongtash Formation near Chhongtash locality (Upper Shyok valley, eastern Karakoram, India) contains abundant, but poorly preserved plant fossils and palynomorphs probably referable to the Early Permian or Late Asselian (~275 Ma) interval. The plant fossils and associated palynological assemblages of eastern Karakoram show a marked similarity to the marine Lower Gondwana assemblages of the Salt Range and Talchir-Karharbari assemblages of Central India. Based on the present discovery it is suggested that, before the accretion of Cimmerian microplates to the Eurasian continent, the Karakoram microplate in its incipient state was not far from the Salt Range and located along the northern margin of the Indian subcontinent as Peri-Gondwanan microplate.