Inverted metamorphic sequence in the Sikkim Himalayas: Crystallization history, P-T gradient and implications

S. Dasgupta, J. Ganguly, S. Neogi

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The metapelitic rocks of the Sikkim Himalayas show an inverted metamorphic sequence (IMS) of the complete Barrovian zones from chlorite to sillimanite + K-feldspar, with the higher grade rocks appearing at progressively higher structural levels. Within the IMS, four groups of major planar structures, S1, S2 and S3 were recognised. The S2 structures are pervasive throughout the Barrovian sequence, and are sub-parallel to the metamorphic isograds. The mineral growth in all zones is dominantly syn-S2. The disposition of the metamorphic zones and structural features show that the zones were folded as a northerly plunging antiform. Significant bulk compositional variation, with consequent changes of mineralogy, occurs even at the scale of a thin section in some garnet zone rocks. The results of detailed petrographic and thermobarometric studies of the metapelites along a roughly E-W transect show progressive increase of both pressure and temperature with increasing structural levels in the entire IMS. This is contrary to all models that call for thermal inversion as a possible reason for the origin of the IMS. Also, the observation of the temporal relation between crystallization and S2 structures is problematic for models of post-/late-metamorphic tectonic inversion by recumbent folding or thrusting. A successful model of the IMS should explain the petrological coherence of the Barrovian zones and the close relationship of crystallization in each zone with S2 planar structures along with the observed trend(s) of P-T variation in Sikkim and in other sections. A discussion is presented of some of the available models that, with some modifications, seem to be capable of explaining these observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-412
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Metamorphic Geology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Himalayas
  • Inverted Barrovian zones
  • Main central thrust
  • Thermabarometry
  • Zoning in garnet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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