Crustal thickening has been a key process of collision-induced Cenozoic deformation along the Indus-Yarlung suture zone, yet the timing, geometric relationships, and along-strike continuities of major thrusts, such as the Great Counter thrust and Gangdese thrust, remain inadequately understood. In this study, we present findings of geologic mapping and thermo- and geochronologic, geochemical, microstructural, and geothermobarometric analyses from the easternmost Indus-Yarlung suture zone exposed in the northern Indo-Burma Ranges. Specifically, we investigate the Lohit and Tidding thrust shear zones and their respective hanging wall rocks of the Lohit Plutonic Complex and Tidding and Mayodia mélange complexes. Field observations are consistent with ductile deformation concentrated along the top-to-the-south Tidding thrust shear zone, which is in contrast to the top-to-the-north Great Counter thrust at the same structural position to the west. Upper amphibolite-facies metamorphism of mélange rocks at ∼9−10 kbar (∼34−39 km) occurred prior to ca. 36−30 Ma exhumation during slip along the Tidding thrust shear zone. To the north, the ∼5-km-wide Lohit thrust shear zone has a subvertical geometry and north-side-up kinematics. Cretaceous arc granitoids of the Lohit Plutonic Complex were emplaced at ∼32−40 km depth in crust estimated to be ∼38−52 km thick at that time. These rocks cooled from ca. 25 Ma to 10 Ma due to slip along the Lohit thrust shear zone. We demonstrate that the Lohit thrust shear zone, Gangdese thrust, and Yarlung-Tsangpo Canyon thrust have comparable hanging wall and footwall rocks, structural geometries, kinematics, and timing. Based on these similarities, we interpret that these thrusts formed segments of a laterally continuous thrust system, which served as the preeminent crustal thickening structure along the Neotethys-southern Lhasa terrane margin and exhumed Gangdese lower arc crust in Oligocene−Miocene time.
Cenozoic kinematic histories of the Tidding and Lohit thrusts in the northern Indo-Burma Ranges: Implications for crustal thickening and exhumation of Gangdese lower arc crust along the Indus-Yarlung suture zone
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Peter J. Haproff, Drew A. Levy, Andrew V. Zuza, Julian D. Hooker, Matthew T. Heizler, Daniel F. Stockli, Mary Braza; Cenozoic kinematic histories of the Tidding and Lohit thrusts in the northern Indo-Burma Ranges: Implications for crustal thickening and exhumation of Gangdese lower arc crust along the Indus-Yarlung suture zone. GSA Bulletin 2022; doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/B36323.1
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