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Abstract

Current tectonic understanding of the Nanga Parbat–Haramosh massif (NPHM) is reviewed, developing new models for the structure and deformation of the Indian continental crust, its thermorheological evolution, and its relationship to surface processes. Comparisons are drawn with the Namche Barwa–Gyala Peri massif (NBGPM) that cores an equivalent syntaxis at the NE termination of the Himalayan arc. Both massifs show exceptionally rapid active denudation and riverine downcutting, identified from very young cooling ages measured from various thermochronometers. They also record relicts of high-pressure metamorphic conditions that chart early tectonic burial. Initial exhumation was probably exclusively by tectonic processes but the young, and continuing emergence of these massifs reflects combined tectonic and surface processes. The feedback mechanisms implicit in aneurysm models may have been overemphasized, especially the role of synkinematic granites as agents of rheological softening and strain localization. Patterns of distributed ductile deformation exhumed within the NPHM are consistent with models of orogen-wide gravitation flow, with the syntaxes forming the lateral edges to the flow beneath the Himalayan arc.

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