Abstract

The northern outcrop termination of Indian continental crust lies at the Nanga Parbat massif, from where this contribution presents new field data. The tectonic contact with the structurally overlying Kohistan island arc is concordant and ductile, is associated with interleaving of Nanga Parbat and Kohistan lithologies, and may be correlated with the Main Mantle thrust found elsewhere in the NW Himalayas. This ductile shear zone is locally overprinted by cataclastic faults associated with exhumation of the massif but overall, the northern outcrop termination of the massif is controlled by erosion through a gently, northward-plunging antiformal structure. This folds both the Main Mantle thrust and the underlying, concordant 'Layered Unit' of the Nanga Parbat basement. Thus there is no indication that the massif acted as a promontory to the Indian continent during collision nor that it is a structure entirely bound by neotectonic faults. Ductile shear fabrics associated with the 'Main Mantle thrust' are cross-cut by leucogranite sheets and pegmatites. These may represent the stockwork to a significant crustal-melt granite body described here in the northern massif. This Jutial granite shows many geochemical characteristics in common with similar bodies in the High Himalayas which are consistent with anatexis of the buried Indian continental basement rocks. However, the granite is enriched in heat producing elements (particularly Th: 22 ppm) and shows extremely high 87Sr/86Sr ratios (>0.88). The high concentrations of radiogenic Sr are also an attribute of a suite of hitherto enigmatic leucogranitic pegmatites that laces the Nanga Parbat massif, suggesting that these may represent a stockwork to a largely buried body of which the Jutial granite is a small exposure. The enrichment in heat-producing elements within the granite may reflect similarly high heat production in the source Indian continental crust requiring in turn a fundamental re-examination of the thermal evolution of this crust during Himalayan metamorphism and exhumation.

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