Abstract

Earthquakes recorded by a dense seismic array at Nanga Parbat, Pakistan, provide new insight into synorogenic metamorphism and mass flow during mountain building. Microseismicity beneath the massif drops off sharply with depth and defines a shallow transition between brittle failure and ductile flow. The base of seismicity bows upward, mapping a thermal boundary with 3 km of structural relief over a lateral distance of 12 km. Anomalously low seismic velocities are observed at the core of the massif and extend to depth through the crust. The main locus of seismicity and low velocities correlates with a region of high topography, rapid exhumation, high geothermal gradients, young metamorphic and igneous ages, and crustal fluid flow. We suggest a genetic link between these phenomena in which hot rocks, rapidly advected from depth, are pervasively modified at relatively shallow levels in the crust.

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