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Abstract

Joining geological mapping, structural analysis, petrology and geochronology allowed the internal architecture of the Greater Himalayan Sequence (GHS) to be unraveled. Several top-to-the-south/SW tectonic–metamorphic discontinuities developed at the regional scale, dividing it into three main units exhumed progressively from the upper to the lower one, starting from c. 40 Ma and lasting for several million years. The activity of shear zones has been constrained and linked to the pressure–temperature–time–deformation (PTtD) evolution of the deformed rocks by the use of petrochronology. Hanging wall and footwall rocks of the shear zones recorded maximum PT conditions at different times. Above the Main Central Thrust, a cryptic tectonometamorphic discontinuity (the High Himalayan Discontinuity (HHD)) has been recognized in Central-Eastern Himalaya.

The older shear zone, that was active at c. 41–28 Ma, triggered the earlier exhumation of the uppermost GHS and allowed the migration of melt, which was produced at peak metamorphic conditions and subsequently produced in abundance at the time of the activation of the HHD. Production of melt continued at low pressure, with nearly isobaric heating leading to the genesis and emplacement of andalusite- and cordierite-bearing granites.

The timing of the activation of the shear zones from deeper to upper structural levels fits with an in-sequence shearing tectonic model for the exhumation of the GHS, further affected by out-of-sequence thrusts.

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