abstract

Practically the whole of northeastern India and northern Burma is characterized as an anomalous gravity field as well as an area of high seismicity. The Bouguer anomaly in the region varies from +44 mgals over Shillong Plateau to −255 mgals near North Lakhimpur in Assam Valley. Isostatic anomaly (Hayford) varies from +100 to −130 mgals in these areas. Over Arakan-Yoma and the Burmese plains, the isostatic anomalies vary from −20 mgals to −100 mgals.

Regions of high seismicity in the area include the eastern Himalaya (including Assam syntaxis), Arakan-Yoma including the folded belt of Tripura, Irrawaddy basin, Shillong Plateau, Dauki fault and the northern part of Bengal basin. The abnormal gravity and seismicity are related to large scale tectonic movements that have taken place in the area mostly during the Cretaceous and Cenozoic times, due to interaction of the Indian, Tibetan, and Burmese plates. The high seismicity indicates that the movements are continuing. The seismic zone underlying Burma is approximately V shaped and dips toward the east underneath Arakan-Yoma. Most of the intermediate-focus earthquakes in Burma underlie the area characterized by negative isostatic anomalies, indicating the probable existence of a subduction zone underneath the Arakan-Yoma and the Burmese plains.

The Shillong Plateau has a history of vertical uplift since Cretaceous times. Provided this statement is true, the uplift of the plateau preceded Himalayan tectonics starting 20 to 30 m.y. before continental India made solid contact with the Eurasian plate. The plateau is characterized by large positive isostatic anomalies as well as high seismicity. The positive isostatic anomalies may be due to intrusion or incorporation of basic material from the mantle into the crust underlying the Plateau. These intrusions may have taken place through deep seated faults such as the Dauki and could be responsible for its uplift as well.

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