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Abstract

Following the c. 50 Ma India–Kohistan arc–Asia collision, crustal thickening uplifted the Himalaya (Indian Plate), and the Karakoram, Pamir and Tibetan Plateau (Asian Plate). Whereas surface geology of Tibet shows limited Cenozoic metamorphism and deformation, and only localized crustal melting, the Karakoram–Pamir show regional sillimanite- and kyanite-grade metamorphism, and crustal melting resulting in major granitic intrusions (Baltoro granites). U/Th–Pb dating shows that metamorphism along the Hunza Karakoram peaked at c. 83–62 and 44 Ma with intrusion of the Hunza dykes at 52–50 Ma and 35 ± 1.0 Ma, and along the Baltoro Karakoram peaked at c. 28–22 Ma, but continued until 5.4–3.5 Ma (Dassu dome). Widespread crustal melting along the Baltoro Batholith spanned 26.4–13 Ma. A series of thrust sheets and gneiss domes (metamorphic core complexes) record crustal thickening and regional metamorphism in the central and south Pamir from 37 to 20 Ma. At 20 Ma, break-off of the Indian slab caused large-scale exhumation of amphibolite-facies crust from depths of 30–55 km, and caused crustal thickening to jump to the fold-and-thrust belt at the northern edge of the Pamir. Crustal thickening, high-grade metamorphism and melting are certainly continuing at depth today in the India–Asia collision zone.

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