Monsoon control over erosion patterns in the Western Himalaya: possible feed-back into the tectonic evolution
Peter D. Clift, Liviu Giosan, Andrew Carter, Eduardo Garzanti, Valier Galy, Ali R. Tabrez, Malcolm Pringle, Ian H. Campbell, Christian France-Lanord, Jurek Blusztajn, Charlotte Allen, Anwar Alizai, Andreas Lückge, Mohammed Danish, M. M. Rabbani, 2010. "Monsoon control over erosion patterns in the Western Himalaya: possible feed-back into the tectonic evolution", Monsoon Evolution and Tectonic–Climate Linkage in Asia, P. D. Clift, R. Tada, H. Zheng
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The Indus Delta is constructed of sediment eroded from the western Himalaya and since 20 ka has been subjected to strong variations in monsoon intensity. Provenance changes rapidly at 12–8 ka, although bulk and heavy mineral content remains relatively unchanged. Bulk sediment analyses shows more negative ɛNd and higher 87Sr/86Sr values, peaking around 8–9 ka. Apatite fission track ages and biotite Ar–Ar ages show younger grains ages at 8–9 ka compared to at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). At the same time δ13C climbs from –23 to –20‰, suggestive of a shift from terrestrial to more marine organic carbon as Early Holocene sea level rose. U–Pb zircon ages suggest enhanced erosion of the Lesser Himalaya and a relative reduction in erosion from the Transhimalaya and Karakoram since the LGM. The shift in erosion to the south correlates with those regions now affected by the heaviest summer monsoon rains. The focused erosion along the southern edge of Tibet required by current tectonic models for the Greater Himalaya would be impossible to achieve without a strong summer monsoon. Our work supports the idea that although long-term monsoon strengthening is caused by uplift of the Tibetan Plateau, monsoon-driven erosion controls Himalayan tectonic evolution.
A table of the population breakdown for zircons in sands and the predicted Nd isotope composition of sediments based on the zircons compared to the measured whole rock value is available at http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/SUP18412
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The Earth’s climate varies through geological time as a result of external, orbital processes, as well as the positions of continents, growth of mountains and the opening and closure of oceanic gateways. Climate modelling suggests that the intensity of the Asian monsoon should correlate, at least in part, with the uplift history of the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalaya, as well as the evolution of gateways and the retreat of shallow seas in Central Asia. Long-term reconstructions of both mountain building and monsoon activity are key to testing the proposed links. This collection of papers presents a series of new studies documenting the variations of the Asian monsoon on orbital and tectonic timescales, together with the impact this has had on environmental conditions. The issue of which proxies are best suited to measuring monsoons is addressed, as is the effect that the monsoon has had on erosion and the formation of the stratigraphic record both on and offshore.