The Himalayan Main Frontal Thrust (MFT) currently accommodates approximately half, i.e., 12–23 mm/yr, of the convergence between the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates by uplift and deformation of the Sub-Himalayas. While deformation is well documented at modern and million-year time scales, almost no quantitative data are available that constrain Quaternary time scale deformation rates along and within this key tectonic unit. Filling this knowledge gap is crucial to better understanding tectonics and the seismic cycle in this densely populated Himalayan region. We quantify exhumation rates in the Sub-Himalayas using the recently established luminescence thermochronometry technique over time scales of 105 yr, which documents exhumation over the final few kilometers of Earth’s crust. The ultra-low closure temperature of luminescence thermochronometry enables us to resolve thermal histories from the Siwalik Group (Nepal) rocks, which have experienced maximum burial temperatures of ~120 °C. An extensive set of 33 samples was collected from western Nepal to eastern Bhutan, from which 22 yield exhumation rates of ~3–11 mm/yr over the past ~200 k.y. We converted these values to minimum cumulative thrust slip rates of ~6–22 mm/yr, assuming a thrust dip angle of 30°. Our luminescence thermochronometry results show that the Sub-Himalayan fold-and-thrust belt, particularly the MFT, accommodates at least 62% of Himalayan convergence since at least 200 ka. Our data also show activity of some intra-Siwalik thrusts throughout this period, implying that internal deformation of the orogenic wedge and strain partitioning may have occurred.

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