The Open UniversitySkip to content

The geology and tectonics of central Bhutan

Greenwood, Lucy V.; Argles, Tom W.; Parrish, Randall R.; Harris, Nigel B. W. and Warren, Clare (2016). The geology and tectonics of central Bhutan. Journal of the Geological Society, 173(2) pp. 352–369.

Full text available as:
PDF (Accepted Manuscript) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (4MB) | Preview
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Lithotectonic mapping, metamorphic observations and U–Pb zircon ages underpin a substantial revision of central Bhutan geology, notably a more extensive and continuous outcrop of the Tethyan Sedimentary Series (TSS) than previously mapped. Metamorphic grade in the TSS increases downward towards a basal north-vergent tectonic contact with the underlying Greater Himalayan Series (GHS), interpreted as a southward continuation of the South Tibetan Detachment (STD). Miocene (c. 17–20 Ma) leucogranite sheets are associated with the STD in this region but appear to diminish southwards. Two leucogranite dykes that cross-cut TSS structures yield ages of 17.8 ± 0.2 and 17.9 ± 0.5 Ma. A 500 ± 4 Ma (U–Pb zircon) metamorphosed ash bed in the Pele La Group within the psammite-dominated lower TSS yields the first direct isotopic age for the TSS in the eastern Himalaya, confirming existing age constraints from detrital zircon and fossil studies. A continuation of the Paro metasedimentary unit underlying the GHS was mapped near Wangdue Phodrang. Our observations, notably the exposure of a wholly ductile STD so far south and the significance of large nappe-like structures in the TSS, prompt a major revision to the geological map of the Bhutan Himalaya and require a reassessment of tectonic interpretations of the Bhutan Himalaya.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2015 The Authors
ISSN: 2041-479X
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Orogenesis in the Eastern Himalaya: A study of Structure, Geochronology and Metamorphism in BhutanS168BGS/BUFI and OU
Keywords: Himalayan geology; Bhutan; South Tibetan Detachment; Tethyan Sedimentary series; leucogranite; geochronology
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 44725
Depositing User: Thomas Argles
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2015 10:45
Last Modified: 31 May 2019 09:16
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU