Abstract

A general lack of consensus about the origin of Himalayan gneiss domes hinders accurate thermomechanical modeling of the orogen. To test whether doming resulted from tectonic contraction (e.g., thrust duplex formation, antiformal bending above a thrust ramp, etc.), channel flow, or via the buoyant rise of anatectic melts, this study investigates the depth and timing of doming processes for Gianbul dome in the western Himalaya. The dome is composed of Greater Himalayan Sequence migmatite, Paleozoic orthogneiss, and metasedimentary rock cut by multiple generations of leucogranite dikes. These rocks record a major penetrative D2 deformational event characterized by a domed foliation and associated NE-SW–trending stretching lineation, and they are flanked by the top-down-to-the-SW (normal-sense) Khanjar shear zone and the top-down-to-the-NE (normal sense) Zanskar shear zone (the western equivalent of the South Tibetan detachment system). Monazite U/Th-Pb geochronology records (1) Paleozoic emplacement of the Kade orthogneiss and associated granite dikes; (2) prograde Barrovian metamorphism from 37 to 33 Ma; (3) doming driven by upper-crustal extension and positive buoyancy of decompression melts between 26 and 22 Ma; and (4) the injection of anatectic melts into the upper levels of the dome—neutralizing the effects of melt buoyancy and potentially adding strength to the host rock—by ca. 22.6 Ma on the southwestern flank and ca. 21 Ma on the northeastern flank. As shown by a northeastward decrease in 40Ar/39Ar muscovite dates from 22.4 to 20.2 Ma, ductile normal-sense displacement within the Zanskar shear zone ended by ca. 22 Ma, after which the Gianbul dome was exhumed as part of a rigid footwall block below the brittle Zanskar normal fault, tilting an estimated 5°–10°SW into its present orientation.

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