Structural evolution of the central Nepal fold-thrust belt and regional tectonic and structural significance of the Ramgarh thrust
AdvisorDavis, George H.
DeCelles, Peter G.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractTectonic shortening within the Himalayan fold-thrust belt in Nepal has been accommodated by southward displacement of large thrust sheets. Most workers focus on the impact that the Main Central, Main Boundary, and Main Frontal thrusts have had on the orogen's structural, thermal, and geomorphic evolution. However, mapping across Nepal, has revealed the presence of the Ramgarh thrust, which is another orogen-scale thrust. The Ramgarh thrust, which had previously been recognized in India and far-western Nepal, occurs within Lesser Himalayan zone rocks, and accommodates a magnitude of shortening similar to that of the Main Central thrust. This dissertation focuses on the structural and tectonic significance of the Ramgarh thrust. Minor details notwithstanding, the structural characteristics of the Ramgarh thrust remain consistent along the ∼800 km width of the fold-thrust belt in Nepal. At current levels of erosion, the Ramgarh thrust is always exposed in a hanging-wall flat on footwall flat thrust relationship with other Lesser Himalayan zone rocks, and also with overlying rocks carried by the Main Central thrust. Mapping along a north-south transect in central Nepal has permitted the construction of a balanced cross-section, which shows that the fold-thrust belt has accommodated a minimum of 489 km of tectonic shortening. A large proportion of which was accommodated by slip on the Ramgarh thrust. Integrating structural constraints provided by mapping and the cross-section with existing thermochronologic, thermobarometric, and foreland basin provenance datasets yields a kinematic model for the structural evolution of the fold-thrust belt. Recognition of the structural relationship between the Ramgarh and Main Central thrusts also permits new insight into the nature of the Main Central thrust. Structural mapping combined with Nd isotope studies from the vicinity of the Ramgarh and Main Central thrusts in Langtang National Park suggest that the Main Central thrust can be defined as a relatively narrow tectonostratigraphic contact, and not as a broad, poorly defined, shear zone. Additionally, much of the volume of highly strained rocks in the footwall of the Main Central thrust may be genetically related to deformation on faults (including the Ramgarh thrust) that lie structurally below the Main Central thrust.
Degree ProgramGraduate College