Abstract

The three Himalayan lithologic units, the Lesser Himalayan Sequence, the Greater Himalayan Crystalline complex, and the Tethyan Himalayan Sequence, have a specific structural correlation with the Main Central thrust and South Tibet detachment in the central Himalaya. There, the Main Central thrust places the Greater Himalayan Crystalline complex over the Lesser Himalayan Sequence, and the South Tibet detachment places the Tethyan Himalayan Sequence over the Greater Himalayan Crystallines. Although this division has formed the basis for all Himalayan tectonic models, it fails to explain aspects of the geology of the western Himalaya where the Main Central thrust places the Tethyan Himalayan Sequence directly above the Lesser Himalayan Sequence. Our mapping in NW India shows that this relationship results from southward merging of the Main Central thrust and South Tibet detachment. This finding, in conjunction with observed alternating shear senses on the South Tibet detachment, is inconsistent with the wedge-extrusion and erosion-induced channel-flow models (both require only top-to-the-N motion on the South Tibet detachment) but is consistent with a tectonic-wedging model.

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