Controls and Implications of Geo-Technical Variation in Quartzose Rocks from Peshawar Basin, North-Western Pakistan


Petrographic and geo-mechanical properties of samples representing quartzose rocks of Tanawal Formation (Baja Bamkhel area, Swabi) and Misri Banda quartzite (Nowshera) from Peshawar Basin, NW Pakistan, have been investigated. Although formerly referred to as quartzite, mineralogical composition and textural details support characterization of the studied quartzose samples of Tanawal Formation as blasto-psammite and those of Misri Banda as sub-arkose. The two rock types also show significant differences in terms of matrix and heavy mineral concentrations as well as the degree and frequency of intra-granular deformation. On the basis of unconfined compressive strength (UCS), both fall in the category of very strong rocks. Correspondingly, their specific gravity and water absorption values are high and low respectively and lie well within the range permissible for use as construction material. However, both contain high amounts of deleterious components, i.e. reactive forms of silica (chert and/or strained quartz) and clay minerals. Therefore, they cannot be used as coarse aggregate with Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) and asphalt. The modal abundance of quartz is higher in the Misri Banda than the Tanawal samples, but the quartz to feldspar ratios are higher for the latter. Yet, the sub-arkosic Misri Banda rocks are stronger than the Tanawal blasto-psammites, most probably because they are i) almost totally devoid of matrix; ii) finer grained; iii) having a higher percentage of grains with irregular and sutured contacts and iv) lesser abundance of grains displaying intra-granular deformation.

Share and Cite:

Zada, K. , Arif, M. and Sajid, M. (2015) Controls and Implications of Geo-Technical Variation in Quartzose Rocks from Peshawar Basin, North-Western Pakistan. Geomaterials, 5, 85-98. doi: 10.4236/gm.2015.54009.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Ori, G.G. and Friend, P.F. (1984) Sedimentary Basins Formed and Carried Piggyback on Active Thrust Sheets. Geology, 12, 475-478.<475:SBFACP>2.0.CO;2
[2] Di Pietro, J.A., Pogue, K.R. and Hussain, A. (1999) Geologic Map of the Indus Syntaxis and Surrounding Area, Northwest Himalaya, Pakistan. 14th Himalaya and Tibet: Mountain Roots to Mountain Tops, 328, 159-178.
[3] Pogue, K.R., Quade, J., Hussain, A., Hinz, N. and Write, H. (1999) Isotopic Constraints on the Age of Metasedimentry Rocks of the Peshawar Basin, Pakistan. 14th Himalaya-Karakorum-Tibet Workshop, 99, 117-118.
[4] Willard, R.J. and McWilliams, J.R. (1969) Microstructural Techniques in the Study of Physical Properties of Rocks. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences, 6, 1-12.
[5] Farmer, I.W. (1983) Engineering Behavior of Rocks. Chapman and Hall, London.
[6] Howarth, D.F. (1986) Experimental Study on the Relationship between Rock Texture and Mechanical Performance. Transactions of the Institute of Mining Metallurgy, 95, 41-44.
[7] Shakoor, A. and Bonelli, R.E. (1991) Relationship between Petrographic Characteristics, Engineering Index Properties and Mechanical Properties of Selected Sandstone. Bulletin of the Assoc Engineering Geologists, 28, 55-71.
[8] Fell, R., Graw, P., Stapledon, D. and Bell, F.G. (2005) Geotechnical Engineering of Dams. Taylor and Francis, London.
[9] Bell, F.G. (2007) Engineering Geology. 2nd Edition, An Imprint of Elsevier, Butterworth-Heinemann.
[10] Lindqvist, J.E., ?kesson, U. and Malaga, K. (2007) Microstructure and Functional Properties of Rock Materials. Material Characterization, 58, 1183-1188.
[11] Treloar, P.J., Bronghton, R.D., Williams, M.P. and Khan M.A. (1989) Deformation, Metamorphism, and Imbrication of the Indian Plate South of the Main Mantle Thrust, North Pakistan. Journal of Metamorphic Geology, 7, 111-125.
[12] Yeats, R.S. and Lawrence, R.D. (1984) Tectonics of the Himalayan Thrust Belt in Northern Pakistan. In: Haq, B.U. and Milliman, J.D., Eds., Marine Geology and Oceanography of Arabian Sea and Coastal Pakistan, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 177-200.
[13] Pogue, K.R., Wardlaw, B.R., Harris, A.G. and Hussain, A. (1992) Paleozoic Stratigraphy of Peshawar Basin, Pakistan: Correlations and Implications. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 104, 915-927.<0915:PAMSOT>2.3.CO;2
[14] Hussain, A., Pogue, K.R., Khan, S.R. and Ahmad, I. (1991) Paleozoic Stratigraphy of the Peshawar Basin. Geological Bulletin (University of Peshawar), 24, 85-97.
[15] ASTM D-3976 (1986) Standard Test Method for Splitting Tensile Strength of Intact Rock Core Specimens. American Society for Testing Material, Philedelphia.
[16] ASTM C-97 (1977) Test for Absorption and Bulk Specific Gravity of Natural Building Stones. American Society for Testing Material, Philedelphia.
[17] Sajid, M., Arif, M. and Muhammad, N. (2009) Petrography and Engineering Properties of Rocks from Khagram-Razagram Area, Lower Dir District, NWFP, Pakistan. Journal of Himalayan Earth Sciences, 42, 25-36.
[18] Anon (1977) The Description of Rock Masses for Engineering Purposes. Engineering Group Working Party Report. Quaternary Journal of Engineering Geology, 10, 43-52.
[19] Arif, M., Bukhari, S.W.H., Muhammad, N. and Sajid, M. (2013) Petrography and Physicomechanical Properties of Rocks from the Ambela Granitic Complex, NW Pakistan. The Scientific World Journal, 2013, Article ID: 349381.
[20] Blyth, F.G.H. and De Freitas, M.H. (1974) A Geology of Engineers. ELBS and Edward Arnold, London, 514.
[21] Dott, R.H. (1964) Wacke, Greywacke and Matrix—What Approach to Immature Sandstone Classification? Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, 34, 625-632.
[22] Pettijohn, F.J., Potter, P.E. and Seiver, R. (1987) Sand and Sandstone. Springer-Verlag, New York.
[23] Malik, M.H. and Rashid, S. (1997) Correlation of Some Engineering Geological Properties of the Murree Formation at Lower Topa (Murree District), Pakistan. Geological Bulletin (University of Peshawar), 30, 69-81.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.