Structural and neodymium-isotopic evidence for the tectonic evolution of the Himalayan fold-thrust belt, western Nepal and the northern Tibetan Plateau
Plate I - Geologic Map of Western ...
AuthorRobinson, Delores Marie
AdvisorDeCelles, Peter G.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe Himalayan fold-thrust belt and Tibetan Plateau are the result of the collision between the Indian and Eurasian continents. This dissertation documents the kinematics and tectonic history of the Himalayan fold-thrust belt of western Nepal and the northern Tibetan Plateau. In the Himalayan fold-thrust belt, the Main Central thrust emplaced a hanging wall flat of Greater Himalayan rock over a footwall flat of Lesser Himalayan rock in Early Miocene time. Subsequent growth of the Lesser Himalayan duplex (LHD) uplifted and rotated the Ramgarh thrust sheet, Main Central thrust, and overlying Greater Himalayan rock to the surface. Thus, growth of the LHD is responsible for the northward dips in the Greater Himalaya. New Nd isotopic data from throughout Nepal indicate that Lesser Himalayan rocks consistently have more negative epsilonNd values than Greater and Tibetan Himalayan rocks. Growth of the LHD is documented in the syntectonic sediments of the Neogene Siwalik Group. At ∼10-11 Ma in central and western Nepal, the epsilonNd values of the Siwalik Group shift toward more negative values which indicate detrital input from rocks in the LHD. Regional mapping in western Nepal and three balanced cross sections provide a three-dimensional view of the fold-thrust belt. These cross sections suggest over 900 km of shortening in upper crustal rock from the Indus suture to the Main Frontal thrust. This suggests a corresponding ∼900 km long wedge of lower crustal rock was consumed by the Himalayan-Tibetan orogen. This wedge may have been inserted under the Tibetan Plateau, helping it obtain its anomalously thick crust. If lower crustal rocks have been inserted under the Tibetan Plateau, the Himalayan collision can account for ∼70% of the overthickened crust. This leaves ∼30% to be accounted for by other mechanisms. The Tula uplift documents shortening along the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The lithic composition of its sandstone, deformation, and erosion of strata suggests that significant regional uplift and thickening occurred since Late Jurassic time and is still occurring. These relationships suggest that the northern Tibetan Plateau region was tectonically active, and undergoing shortening, long before the early Tertiary India-Eurasian collision.
Degree ProgramGraduate College