Metamorphic history of a syn-convergent orogen-parallel detachment: the South Tibetan detachment system, Bhutan Himalaya

Kellett, D. A.; Grujic, D.; Warren, C.; Cottle, J.; Jamieson, R. and Tenzin, T. (2010). Metamorphic history of a syn-convergent orogen-parallel detachment: the South Tibetan detachment system, Bhutan Himalaya. Journal of Metamorphic Geology, 28(8) pp. 785–808.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1525-1314.2010.00893.x

Abstract

The South Tibetan detachment system (STDS) in the Himalayan orogen is an example of normal-sense displacement on an orogen-parallel shear zone during lithospheric contraction. Here, in situ monazite U(-Th)-Pb geochronology is combined with metamorphic pressure and temperature estimates to constrain pressure-temperature-time (P-T-t) paths for both the hangingwall and footwall rocks of a Miocene ductile component of the STDS (outer STDS) now exposed in the eastern Himalaya. The outer STDS is located south of a younger, ductile/brittle component of the STDS (inner STDS), and is characterized by structurally upward decreasing metamorphic grade corresponding to a transition from sillimanite-bearing Greater Himalayan sequence rocks in the footwall with garnet that preserves diffusive chemical zoning to staurolite-bearing Chekha Group rocks in the hangingwall, with garnet that records prograde chemical zoning. Monazite ages indicate that prograde garnet growth in the footwall occurred prior to partial melting at 22.6 ± 0.4 Ma, and that peak temperatures were reached following c. 20.5 Ma. In contrast, peak temperatures were reached in the Chekha Group hangingwall by c. 22 Ma. Normal-sense (top-to-the-north) shearing in both the hangingwall and footwall followed peak metamorphism from c. 23 Ma until at least c. 16 Ma. Retrograde P-T-t paths are compatible with modelled P-T-t paths for an outer STDS analogue that is isolated from the inner STDS by intervening extrusion of a dome of mid-crustal material.

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