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Early Oligocene partial melting and prolonged low-pressure–low-temperature (low-P/T) metamorphism were investigated in migmatites and orthogneisses from the upper High Himalaya Crystalline Sequence (HHCS) in the far east of Nepal. The migmatites were formed by biotite dehydration melting at c. 800°C from 33 to 25 Ma. Cordierite was only produced at shallow crustal levels at pressures <6 kbar. After Early Oligocene partial melting, the low-P/T metamorphism continued until 17 Ma during exhumation of the cordierite-bearing migmatites. Early Oligocene biotite dehydration melting in the upper HHCS occurred at different times and locations from the Early Miocene muscovite dehydration melting in the underlying HHCS and the metamorphic discontinuity was accompanied by thrusting of the High Himalayan Discontinuity at c. 27–19 Ma. Pervasive partial melting and prolonged low-P/T metamorphism in the upper HHCS is more compatible with a lateral southwards channel flow of the upper HHCS along the High Himalayan Discontinuity, whereas current channel flow models explaining the exhumation of the HHCS as driven only by the coupled activity of the Main Central Thrust and South Tibetan Detachment have faced difficulties in explaining the timing of the low-P/T metamorphism observed in the upper HHCS.

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