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History of subduction erosion and accretion recorded in the Yarlung suture zone, southern Tibet

Kathryn Metcalf and Paul Kapp
History of subduction erosion and accretion recorded in the Yarlung suture zone, southern Tibet (in Himalayan tectonics; a modern synthesis, P. J. Treloar (editor) and M. P. Searle (editor))
Special Publication - Geological Society of London (January 2019) 483 (1): 517-554


The history of pre-Cretaceous subduction accretion and erosion along the Yarlung Suture Zone remains poorly constrained. We present new geological mapping along c. 200 km of the suture zone, 4881 detrital zircon U-Pb ages, and sandstone petrography for the subduction complex and Tethyan Himalayan strata. We provide the first documentation of the c. 158 Ma marine Xiazha Formation, which contains volcanic clasts of intermediate to felsic volcanic rocks and ooids with both calcareous and volcanic cores. Based on our new data and synthesis of published data, we present a model in which the Zedong arc represents the southwards migration of the Gangdese arc onto a forearc ophiolite that was generated proximal to the southern Asian margin during Neotethyan slab rollback at 160-150 Ma. This contrasts with previous suggestions that the Zedong arc, Yarlung ophiolites and subduction complex rocks developed above an intra-oceanic subduction zone thousands of kilometres south of Asia. Although Gangdese arc magmatism began in the Middle Triassic, the only forearc units preserved are 160 Ma until collision between the Xigaze forearc basin and Tethyan Himalaya at c. 59 Ma. This suggests that almost all pre-Cretaceous forearc assemblages have been removed by subduction erosion at the trench. Supplementary material: Zircon U-Pb geochronologic analyses and detail views of maps with stereonets are available at

ISSN: 0305-8719
Serial Title: Special Publication - Geological Society of London
Serial Volume: 483
Serial Issue: 1
Title: History of subduction erosion and accretion recorded in the Yarlung suture zone, southern Tibet
Title: Himalayan tectonics; a modern synthesis
Author(s): Metcalf, KathrynKapp, Paul
Author(s): Treloar, P. J.editor
Author(s): Searle, M. P.editor
Affiliation: University of Arizona, Department of Geosciences, Tucson, AZ, United States
Pages: 517-554
Published: 20190123
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of London, London, United Kingdom
References: 175
Accession Number: 2019-040497
Categories: StratigraphyStructural geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sect., 2 tables, geol. sketch maps
N28°00'00" - N30°00'00", E86°00'00" - E90°00'00"
Source Note: Online First
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2020, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from The Geological Society, London, London, United Kingdom
Update Code: 201921
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