Structural evolution of the western margin of the Nanga Parbat massif, Pakistan Himalaya: insights from the Raikhot–Liachar area
Published:January 01, 2000
R. W. H. Butler, 2000. "Structural evolution of the western margin of the Nanga Parbat massif, Pakistan Himalaya: insights from the Raikhot–Liachar area", Tectonics of the Nanga Parbat Syntaxis and the Western Himalaya, M. Asif Khan, Peter J. Treloar, Michael P. Searle, M. Qasim Jan
Download citation file:
There are several competing interpretations of the structure of the margins of the Nanga Parbat massif: that the massif is bounded by the original suture between the Indian continent and the Kohistan-Ladakh island arc―the Main Mantle Thrust; that the massif is entirely bounded by neotectonic faults; that it is bounded by a combination of early and late faults and shear zones. If the marginal structures of the massif are to be related to local and regional geo-tectonic evolution then their correct characterization is critical. The Raikhot Bridge area on the western margin of the massif is useful in this regard, as it provides accessible and near-continuous outcrops. This contact, sometimes called the Raikhot Fault, is composite. Sheared metagabbros of the Kohistan arc are juxtaposed tectonically against metasediments and orthogneisses of the Nanga Parbat massif along an early ductile shear contact, developed under amphibolite facies conditions. In this regard it may be a preserved segment of the Main Mantle Thrust. However, this ductile shear zone has been strongly modified, flattened and rotated, and is cut by younger shears and faults. The original kinematics of the shear zone have been largely overprinted by these subsequent deformations. The younger structures include NE-SW striking, dextral strike-slip faults and a major top-to-NW thrust and shear zone. A sequence of metamorphism, deformation and igneous emplacement may be used to study the history of structural evolution within the massif. The use of a single name (e.g. Raikhot Fault) for the present-day map contact between the Nanga Parbat massif and neighbouring Kohistan is misleading. The early contact (termed here the Phuparash Shear Zone, possibly the northeastern continuity of the Main Mantle Thrust) is modified by the Buldar Fault Zone (dextral strike-slip) and the Liachar Thrust Zone (top-to NW carriage of the Nanga Parbat massif across the Phuparash Shear Zone and onto Kohistan). The activity of the Buldar Fault and Liachar Thrust Zone continued during exhumation of the massif, through amphibolite facies to the Earth's surface. The interaction between these structures is at present unknown. However, establishing these and similar interactions within the Nanga Parbat area remain central to establishing the role of regional NE-SW dextral transpression in the modern structure of the massif.
Figures & Tables
Tectonics of the Nanga Parbat Syntaxis and the Western Himalaya
The western syntaxis of the Himalaya is one of the most exciting frontiers of continental tectonis studies. The region around the mountain of Nanga Parbat has some of the highest peaks, deepest valleys and highest uplift, exhumation and erosion rates known on earth. Surrounding regions include the Hindu Kush and Karakoram mountains (Asian plate), the Kohistan island arc and the Ladakh and Zanskar ranges of the western Himalaya (Indian plate). This volume includes 24 papers on all these regions as well as five new fold-out maps of the eastern Hindu Kush, the Spontang Ophiolite region of Ladakh, part of the west margin of the Indian plate, the Indus syntaxis in Pakistan and the Bouguer gravity anomalies in Pakistan.