Abstract

We present a new geologic map of eastern and central Bhutan and four balanced cross sections through the Himalayan fold-thrust belt. Major structural features, from south to north, include: (1) a single thrust sheet of Subhimalayan rocks above the Main Frontal thrust; (2) the upper Lesser Himalayan duplex system, which repeats horses of the Neoproterozoic–Cambrian(?) Baxa Group below a roof thrust (Shumar thrust) carrying the Paleoproterozoic Daling-Shumar Group; (3) the lower Lesser Himalayan duplex system, which repeats horses of the Daling-Shumar Group and Neoproterozoic–Ordovician(?) Jaishidanda Formation, with the Main Central thrust (MCT) acting as the roof thrust; (4) the structurally lower Greater Himalayan section above the MCT with overlying Tethyan Himalayan rock in stratigraphic contact in central Bhutan and structural contact above the South Tibetan detachment in eastern Bhutan; and (5) the structurally higher Greater Himalayan section above the Kakhtang thrust. Cross sections show 164–267 km shortening in Subhimalayan and Lesser Himalayan rocks, 97–156 km structural overlap across the MCT, and 31–53 km structural overlap across the Kakhtang thrust, indicating a total of 344–405 km of minimum crustal shortening (70%–75%). Our data show an eastward continuation of Lesser Himalayan duplexing identified in northwest India, Nepal, and Sikkim, which passively folded the overlying Greater Himalayan and Tethyan Himalayan sections. Shortening and percent shortening estimates across the orogen, although minima, do not show an overall eastward increase, which may suggest that shortening variations are controlled more by the original width and geometry of the margin than by external parameters such as erosion and convergence rates.

You do not currently have access to this article.