Abstract

Integrated pseudosection modeling and monazite petrochronology of paragneiss from the Kanchenjunga region of northeastern Nepal reveal the presence of cryptic tectonometamorphic discontinuities within the Himalayan metamorphic core. These new data outline a series of thrust-sense structures that juxtapose rocks that generally record a protracted history of early Eocene to latest Oligocene–early Miocene (ca. 41–23 Ma) prograde metamorphism and lateral extrusion against others that typically record short prograde (between 2 and 7 m.y.) and retrograde (between 3 and 6 m.y.) histories variably spanning the middle Oligocene to the middle Miocene (ca. 31–12 Ma). Retrograde metamorphism in the hanging wall of the thrust faults is typically coeval with prograde metamorphism in the footwall, indicating that overthrusting/underthrusting accommodated crustal shortening and drove metamorphic processes. The structures and juxtaposed panels were cut by early Miocene (ca. 20–18 Ma) out-of-sequence thrusting coincident with the previously mapped High Himal thrust. The resulting kinematic model for the evolution of the Himalayan metamorphic core in the Kanchenjunga area demonstrates that the Himalayan metamorphic core was dominated by underplating from at least the Oligocene through to present, and that the internal structure of the exhumed metamorphic core is significantly more complex than has been documented previously.

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