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Two sedimentary lithotectonic zones are traditionally recognized in the northwestern Himalayan frontal fold–thrust belt in the Nahan salient: the Lesser Himalaya Zone (LHZ) and the Sub-Himalaya Zone (SHZ). The LHZ is made up of a sequence of Proterozoic to Early Cambrian rocks and the SHZ is made up of Cenozoic rock sequences, which were deposited subsequent to the India–Asia collision. Serial balanced cross-sections show that the structural geometries become increasingly complex from independent ramp anticlines near the foreland through imbricate fan/duplex to stacked-up horses towards the hinterland. Sequential restoration suggests a structural evolution in which a foreland propagating, in-sequence thrusting event was followed by out-of-sequence thrusting in an approximately break-back style. During the out-of-sequence movement, some of the ramps formed during in-sequence thrusting were repeatedly reactivated, leading to very complex structural geometries, particularly in the LHZ. In such a complexly deformed terrain, a rigorous structural modelling approach, combined with a robust geochemical and geochronological database, should be used to carry out calibrated petroleum system modelling, and thus reduce exploration risk.

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