Abstract

The use of gravels as syntectonic indicators of thrusting has recently been questioned by foreland-basin models that assign gravels to a post-thrusting interval of progradation, except in very proximal areas. On the basis of precise temporal control provided by magnetostratigraphically dated sections, the history of gravel progradation after a major thrusting and uplift event in the northwestern Himalaya is shown to be a virtually syntectonic phenomenon. Despite considerable crustal subsidence driven by a thick-skinned thrust, gravels prograded ∼70 km during a 1.5-m.y.-long thrusting event. By 3 m.y. after the start off thrusting, gravels extended more than 110 km into the basin. Although delayed gravel progradation appears appropriate for many Rocky Mountain foreland basins, it is clearly not valid for the Himalaya. We attribute the difference in depositional response between these basins to differences in the quantity of sediment supplied to them (sediment starved vs. overfilled), the availability of resistates in the source area, and the size of the antecedent drainage.

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