Constraints on India–Eurasia collision in the Arabian Sea region taken from the Indus Group, Ladakh Himalaya, India
Published:January 01, 2002
Peter D. Clift, Andrew Carter, Michael Krol, Eric Kirby, 2002. "Constraints on India–Eurasia collision in the Arabian Sea region taken from the Indus Group, Ladakh Himalaya, India", The Tectonic and Climatic Evolution of the Arabian Sea Region, P. D. Clift, D. Kroon, C. Gaedicke, J. Craig
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The Indus Group is a Paleogene, syntectonic sequence from the Indus Suture Zone of the Ladakh Himalaya, India. Overlying several pre-collisional tectonic units, it constrains the timing and nature of India's collision with Eurasia in the western Himalaya. Field and petrographic data now allow Mesozoic-Paleocene deep-water sediments underlying the Indus Group to be assigned to three pre-collisional units: the Jurutze Formation (the forearc basin to the Cretaceous-Paleocene Eurasian active margin), the Khalsi Flysch (a Eurasian forearc sequence recording collapse of the Indian continental margin and ophiolite obduction), and the Lamayuru Group (the Mesozoic passive margin of India). Cobbles of neritic limestone, deep-water radiolarian chert and mafic igneous rocks, derived from the south (i.e. from India), are recognized within the upper Khalsi Flysch and the unconformably overlying fluvial sandstones of the Chogdo Formation, the base of the Indus Group. The Chogdo Formation is the first unit to overlie all three pre-collisional units and constrains the age of India-Eurasia collision to being no younger than latest Ypresian time (>49 Ma), consistent with marine magnetic data suggesting initial collision in the Arabian Sea region at c. 55 Ma. The cutting of equatorial Tethyan circulation north of India at that time may have been a trigger to the major changes in global palaeoceanography seen at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary. New 40Ar/39Ar, apatite fission-track and illite crystallinity data from the Ladakh Batholith and Indus Group show that the batholith, representing the old active margin of Eurasia, experienced rapid Eocene cooling after collision, but was not significantly reheated when the Indus Group basin was inverted during north-directed Miocene thrusting (23-20 Ma). Subsequent erosion has preferentially removed 5-6 km (c. 200 °C) over much of the exposed Indus Group, but only c. 2 km from the Ladakh Batholith. Reworking of this material into the Indus fan may complicate efforts to interpret palaeo-erosion patterns from the deep-sea sedimentary record.
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The Tectonic and Climatic Evolution of the Arabian Sea Region
Over long periods of time the tectonic evolution of the solid Earth has been recognized as the major control on the development of the global climate system. Tectonic activity acts in one of two different ways to influence regional and global climate: (i) through the opening and closing of oceanic gateways and its effect on the circulation patterns in the global ocean; (ii) through the growth and erosion of orogenic belts, resulting in changes in oceanic chemistry and disruption of atmospheric circulation. The Arabian Sea region has several features that make it the best area for studies of climate and palaeoceanographic responses to tectonic activity, most notably in the context of the South Asian monsoon and its relationship to the growth of high topography in the adjacent Himalayas and Tibet.
The Tectonic and Climatic Evolution of the Arabian Sea Region brings together a collection of recent studies on the area from a wide group of international contributors. The paper range from high resolution, Holocene palaeoceanographic studies of the Pakistan margin to regional tectonic reconstructions of the ocean basin and surrounding margins throughout the Cenozoic. Marine geophysics, stratigraphy, isotope chemistry and neotectonics come together in a multidisciplinary approach to the study of interactions of land and sea. while much work remains to be done to understand fully the tectonic and climatic evolution of the Arabian Sea, a great deal has been achieved since the last major review, as detailed in the 26 contributions. This volume is essential reading for palaeoceanographers, sedimentologists and geophysicists. It will also be interest to structural geologists and those working in the petroleum industry.