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Regional geology of Sumatra

Physiography of Sumatra
Sumatra Island is one of the 5 biggest islands in Indonesia including Java Island, Borneo
Island, Sulawesi Island and Papua. Sumatra has an area of about 473,606 km 2, stretching across
the equator for 1,760 km length from Banda Aceh in the north to Tanjungkarang in the south. Its
width is about 100-200 km in the northern part and is up to 400 km in the southern part (Sutopo,
2013). The islands backbone is formed by the Barisan Mountains/Range which extends the
whole length of the island; and divides the island into the west and the east coast. The Barisan
Mountains is mainly a narrow belt, parallel to and generally only a few tens of kilometers from
the west coast (Pulunggono, 2000).

Figure 1: Regional Geology, (Source: Barber et al., 2005)

The main peaks, which are mainly Quaternary volcanoes, commonly rise about 2,000 m
above sea level, culminating in Mt. Kerinci 3,805 m in the central Sumatra. Towards the Indian
Ocean the west slope is generally short, and has rivers that drain towards the west-southwest and
is mountainous. The eastern slope is broad, hilly tracts and flat areas of Tertiary formations and
alluvium. The rivers in the east follow long meandering patterns across broad coastal plains and
swamps to the Malacca Straits and continue to the southeast across the narrow Sunda Strait and
the Java Sea.
Stratigraphy of Sumatra
Pre Tertiary basement rocks in Sumatra outcrop mainly along the central spine of the
Barisan Mountains, which extend along the length of the Island Parallel to the southwest Coast
(Barber, A. J. & Crow, M. J., 2003: An Evaluation of Plate Tectonic Models for the Development
of Sumatra). Barisan Mountains are the mountain range on the western side of Sumatra covering
nearly 1,700 km from the north to the south of the island consists primarily of volcanoes
shrouded in dense jungle cover, including Sumatran tropical pine forests on the higher slopes
with the highest peak of the range is Mount Kerinci at 3,800 metres and National Park is situated
towards the southern end of the range (Wikipedia, Barisan Mountain). The Oldest rocks in
Sumatra which have a complete data are found in Northern, Central, and Southern Sumatra
which is lower Permian Upper Devonian in age of East Sumatra Block followed by Kluet
Kuantan of Lower Permian Lower Carboniferous and Palepat, Silungkan Mengkarang of
Lower Permian in age are part of Tapanuli Group. Extrusive ignimbrites and Intrusive tin
granites imply an underlying continental basement which is not identify in outcrop are
Precambrian Basement rock. Upper Devonian Lower Palaeozoic age of rocks are not found in

Tapanuli Group
Tapanuli group is differentiated by Kuantan Formation and Mantulu Formation
(http://kamustambang.online/stratigrafi-sumatra/, 2015, Stratigraphy of Sumatra, Translated).
Tapanuli group mainly found in Northern, Central, and Southern Sumatra.

Tectonic Evolution of Sumatra

Sumatra is located on the southwestern edge of the Sunda land plate northeast of the
Sunda Trench. The island has a classic tectonic setting of a subduction arc including trench,
accretionary prism, outer-arc ridge, fore arc and volcanic chain with active andesitic volcanism
(Karig et al., 1979). Sumatra has a very long tectonic history which extends back to at least 250
Ma (Katili, 1973; Hamilton, 1979; McCourt et al., 1996, Barber et al., 2005; Metcalfe, 2006).
Sumatra is underlain by the Paleozoic continental crust of Gondwanaland origin that drifted
away from the Australian continent, which were accreted to a number of plate fragments in

several stages during the Mesozoic (Barber et al., 2005; Metcalfe, 1996, 2006). These plate
fragments were then combined throughout a series of subduction-arc magmatism, collision and
accretion events.
During the Devonian, southwestern Sumatra and the Tin Island were part of West
Sumatra Block and East Malaya Block which rifted from Gondwanaland. In the Early Permian,
the East Sumatra Block forms part of Sibumasu (Siam, Burma, Malaya, Sumatra), a continental
fragment which detached from Gondwanaland and collided with Indochina Block later in the
Permian or in the Early Triassic (Metcalfe, 2000).
During this event, the Paleo-Tethys was subducted beneath the East Malaya Block. The
deformed remains of this accretionary complex form the Bentong-Raub Suture Zone (Metcalfe,
2006) extending from the Malay Peninsula into the Tin islands. Following the collision of the
Sibumasu Block with the East Malaya Block, the West Sumatra Block became detached in the
Triassic and was marked by transcurrent faulting or a strike-slip faulting along the Medial
Sumatra Tectonic Zone and was accreted along the outer margin of Sibumasu (contact between
West and East Sumatra Block).
During the Late Triassic-Early Jurassic subduction of the Meso-Tethys commenced along
the margin of the combined West Sumatra Bock and Sibumasu continent (Barber et al. (2005);
Metcalfe, 1996). Following the subduction of the Meso-Tethys, accretion during Mid JurassicEarly Cretaceous is recorded in the Oceanic Assemblage of the Woyla Group, comprising
oceanic volcanics, sediments and oceanic crust fragments that accumulated in the Woyla
accretionary complex (Barber, 2000; Barber and Crow, 2005; Crow, 2005). This phase of
subduction/accretion was brought to a close by docking of a string of oceanic island arcs which
had originated within the Meso-Tethys Ocean.
The arrival of the Bentaro-Saling oceanic island arc terminated the subduction, and the
Woyla Oceanic Assemblage and Volcanic Arc were thrusted over the margin of the West Sumatra
Block as the Woyla Nappe. Subduction of the Meso-Tethys resumed late in the Cretaceous and
the oceanward side of the Bentaro-Saling Volcanic Arcs (Crow, 2005).
A collision between Sumatra-West Java and the narrow Woyla Terrane terminated
Mesozoic magmatic arc activity and Cenozoic rocks unconformably overlie Mesozoic rocks

(Barber, 2000). The subduction direction changed from oblique to almost orthogonal between
Sumatra and Java; and India plate-Sundaland plate motion is subdivided into trench-normal
subduction and dextral slip on the Sumatran Fault System and related strands (Fitch, 1972).
Since the Late Cretaceous, the paleogeographic setting of Sumatra is similar to what we
see today (Hall, 1996, 2002; Metcalfe, 1996, 2006). At present, Sumatra forms the active
southwestern margin of the Sundaland which is the southeastern of Eurasian Plate. The thickness
of crust underneath Sumatra is approximately 30 km (Ben-Avraham and Emery, 1973; Hamilton,
1979). The north-northeast-directed motion of Indian Ocean results in oblique subduction and a
northwestward movement of a sliver plate. There is a well-defined Wadati-Benioff seismic zone
200 km deep beneath Sumatra, which is much shallower than 600 km deep in Java to the south
(Hamilton, 1979). However, recent tomography studies on the seismic velocity structure beneath
Sunda Arc suggest that the lithospheric slab in both Sumatra and Java penetrates into the depth of
more than 660 km or to the lower mantle (Widiyantoro and Van der Hilst, 1996; Hafkenscheid et
al., 2001).
In the early Cenozoic, regional uplift occurred and was followed by extension and
subsidence although this is not well dated; the oldest parts of the sequence include volcanic rocks
and sedimentary rocks devoid of fossils. The origin of the Sumatra Basins in the east is
uncertain, partly because of the uncertainty in their age. There was short-lived plutonism in the
Early Eocene (60-50 Ma), but most Cenozoic activity dates from the early Miocene (20-5 Ma)
when the present fore arc - arc-back arc became established (McCourt et al., 1996). The most
distinctive structural feature on land is the Sumatran Fault System (SFS), a major mid-Tertiary
dextral strike-slip fault zone accompanied by a row of Quaternary volcanoes. Both strike-slip and
extensional controls have been proposed (Williams and Eubank, 1995; McCarthy and Elders,
1997). The Sumatran fore-arc also dates from the early Miocene (Samuel and Harbury, 1996).
Subsequent tectonism and uplift in the Miocene and Plio-Pleistocene caused inversion of the
Cenozoic basins, folding and fault reactivation. In summary, since the late Paleozoic, Sumatra is
interpreted to be constructed through a series of collision, subduction-arc magmatism, accretion
events, creation of volcanic arcs, the formation of compression, oblique slip structures and
suturing of discrete microcontinents (Karig et al., 1979; Hamilton, 1979; Pulunggono and
Cameron 1984; Barber, 1985; Metcalfe, 1996, 2006; Hall, 2002; Barber et al., 2005).

Magmatism of Sumatra Related to Au-Ag Mineralization

Sumatra has gold and silver deposits which derived from alteration (The contact
of hydrothermal magma). One of the most important gold and silver mineralization in Sumatra
Island Martabe Gold Deposit which is High Sulphidation Epithermal Deposit. Epithermal
Deposit formed near the surface of the earth which mean it is easily eroded. Due to this fact, I am
looking to the magmatism in Sumatra Island which were active in tertiary time.
Sumatra Island did not have any magmatism between 75 65 Ma, even though the region
have many magmatism with the oldest magmatism found in Silurian Granite (Eubank and
Makki, 1981) and actively continued until it stopped for 10 Ma. Bellon et al. (2004) suggested
that the continuation of Cenozoic magmatism in Sumatra began at 65 Ma. Cenozoic volcanism
occurs along the Barisan Mountains and the western coast of Sumatra. Main volcanic episodes
recognized in Tertiary Sumatra are during the Paleocene (65-c.50 Ma; Bellon et al., 2004; Crow,
2005), Late Middle Eocene (c.46-40 Ma), Late Eocene-Late Oligocene (c.38-24 Ma), Late Early
Miocene-Middle Miocene (c.22-14 Ma), Late Miocene-Pliocene (6-1.8 Ma) and Quaternary (1.80 Ma) (Crow, 2005). However, the youngest plutonic rock is 50.2 Ma (McCourt et al., 1996).
Geochemical signatures of arc magmas suggest that they are of I-type continental margin type
rather than the island arc type of Java (Whitford, 1975; McCourt et al., 1996; Crow, 2005).
Therefore, this arc magma provided an abundance of young silicic volcanic rocks associated with
caldera-forming events involving the melting of upper crustal material (Whitford, 1975;
Hamilton, 1979; Gasparon and Varne, 1995; Gasparon, 2005).