Abstract

New mapping in eastern Bhutan, in conjunction with U-Pb detrital zircon and δ13C data, defines Lesser Himalayan tectonostratigraphy. The DalingShumar Group, 2–6 km of quartzite (Shumar Formation) overlain by 3 km of schist (Daling Formation), contains ∼1.8–1.9 Ga intrusive orthogneiss bodies and youngest detrital zircon peaks, indicating a Paleoproterozoic deposition age. The Jaishidanda Formation, 0.5–1.7 km of garnet-biotite schist and quartzite, stratigraphically overlies the Daling Formation beneath the Main Central thrust, and yields youngest detrital zircon peaks ranging from ∼0.8–1.0 Ga to ca. 475 Ma, indicating a Neoproterozoic–Ordovician(?) deposition age range. The Baxa Group, 2–3 km of quartzite, phyllite, and dolomite, overlies the Daling-Shumar Group in the foreland, and yields ca. 0.9 Ga to ca. 520 Ma youngest detrital zircon peaks, indicating a Neoproterozoic–Cambrian(?) deposition age range. Baxa dolomite overlying quartzite containing ca. 525 Ma detrital zircons yielded δ13C values between +3‰ and +6‰, suggesting deposition during an Early Cambrian positive δ13C excursion. Above the Baxa Group, the 2–3 km thick Diuri Formation diamictite yielded a ca. 390 Ma youngest detrital zircon peak, suggesting correlation with the late Paleozoic Gondwana supercontinent glaciation. Finally, the Permian Gondwana succession consists of sandstone, siltstone, shale, and coal. Our deposition age data from Bhutan: (1) reinforce suggestions that Paleoproterozoic (∼1.8–1.9 Ga) Lesser Himalayan deposition was continuous along the entire northern Indian margin; (2) show a likely eastward continuation of a Permian over Cambrian unconformity in the Lesser Himalayan section identified in Nepal and northwest India; and (3) indicate temporal overlap between Neoproterozoic–Paleozoic Lesser Himalayan (proximal) and Greater Himalayan–Tethyan Himalayan (distal) deposition.

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