Detrital zircon geochronology of pre-Tertiary strata in the Tibetan-Himalayan orogen

G. Gehrels, P. Kapp, P. Decelles, A. Pullen, R. Blakey, A. Weislogel, L. Ding, J. Guynn, A. Martin, N. McQuarrie, A. Yin

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Detrital zircon data have recently become available from many different portions of the Tibetan-Himalayan orogen. This study uses 13,441 new or existing U-Pb ages of zircon crystals from strata in the Lesser Himalayan, Greater Himalayan, and Tethyan sequences in the Himalaya, the Lhasa, Qiangtang, and Nan Shan-Qilian Shan-Altun Shan terranes in Tibet, and platformal strata of the Tarim craton to constrain changes in provenance through time. These constraints provide information about the paleogeographic and tectonic evolution of the Tibet-Himalaya region during Neoproterozoic to Mesozoic time. First-order conclusions are as follows: (1) Most ages from these crustal fragments are <1.4 Ga, which suggests formation in accretionary orogens involving little pre-mid-Proterozoic cratonal material; (2) all fragments south of the Jinsa suture evolved along the northern margin of India as part of a circum-Gondwana convergent margin system; (3) these Gondwana-margin assemblages were blanketed by glaciogenic sediment during Carboniferous-Permian time; (4) terranes north of the Jinsa suture formed along the southern margin of the Tarim-North China craton; (5) the northern (Tarim-North China) terranes and Gondwana-margin assemblages may have been juxtaposed during mid-Paleozoic time, followed by rifting that formed the Paleo-Tethys and Meso-Tethys ocean basins; (6) the abundance of Permian-Triassic arc-derived detritus in the Lhasa and Qiangtang terranes is interpreted to record their northward migration across the Paleo- and Meso-Tethys ocean basins; and (7) the arrival of India juxtaposed the Tethyan assemblage on its northern margin against the Lhasa terrane, and is the latest in a long history of collisional tectonism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberTC5016
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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