The impact of a tear in the subducted Indian plate on the Miocene geology of the Himalayan-Tibetan orogen

Rui Wang, Roberto F. Weinberg, Di Cheng Zhu, Zeng Qian Hou, Zhi Ming Yang

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Abstract

The Yadong-Gulu Rift, cutting across the Gangdese belt and Himalayan terranes, is currently associated with a thermal anomaly in the mantle and crustal melting at 15– 20 km depth. The rift follows the trace of a tear in the underthrusted Indian continental lithospheric slab recognized by high resolution geophysical methods. The Miocene evolution of a 400-km-wide band following the trace of the tear and the rift, records differences interpreted as indicative of a higher heat flow than its surroundings. In the Gangdese belt, this band is characterized by high-Sr/Y granitic magmatism that lasted 5 m.y. longer than elsewhere and by the highest values of εHf(i) and association with the largest porphyry Cu-Mo deposits in the Gangdese belt. Anomalously young magmatic rocks continue south along the rift in the Tethyan and Higher Himalayas. Here, a 300-km-wide belt includes some of the youngest Miocene Himalayan leucogranites; the only occurrence of mantle-derived mafic enclaves in a leucogranite; young mantle-derived lamprophyre dikes; and the youngest and hottest migmatites in the Higher Himalayas. These migmatites record a history of rapid exhumation contemporaneous with the exhumation of Miocene mafic eclogite blocks, which are unique to this region and which were both heated to >800 °C at ca. 15–13 Ma, followed by isothermal decompression. We suggest that the prominent tear in the Indian lithosphere, sub-parallel to the rift, is the most likely source for these tectono-thermal anomalies since the Miocene

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-690
Number of pages10
JournalGeological Society of America Bulletin
Volume134
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

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