Title page for ETD etd-05022007-173346

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Jessup, Micah John
URN etd-05022007-173346
Title Kinematic Evolution, Metamorphism and Exhumation of the Greater Himalayan Sequence, Mount Everest Massif, Tibet/Nepal
Degree PhD
Department Geosciences
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Law, Richard D. Committee Co-Chair
Searle, Michael P. Committee Co-Chair
Spotila, James A. Committee Member
Tracy, Robert J. Committee Member
  • Tibetan plateau
  • exhumation
  • pressure-temperatures paths
  • mean kinematic vorticity
  • kinematic analysis
  • structure
  • tectonics
  • metamorphism
  • Himalayas
Date of Defense 2007-04-30
Availability restricted
The Himalayan orogen provides an incredible natural laboratory to test models for continent-continent collision. The highest peaks of the Himalayas are composed of the Greater Himalayan Sequence (GHS), which is bound by a north-dipping low angle detachment fault above (South Tibetan detachment; STD) and by a thrust fault below (Main Central thrust; MCT). Assuming simultaneous movement on these features, the GHS can be modeled as a southward extruding wedge or channel. Channel flow models describe the coupling between mid-crustal flow, driven by gradients in lithostatic pressure between the Tibetan Plateau and the Indian plate, and focused denudation on the range front. Although the general geometry and shear sense criteria for these bounding shear zones has been documented, prior to this investigation, relatively few attempts had been made to quantify the spatial and temporal variation in flow path history for rocks from an exhumed section of the proposed mid-crustal channel. Results from this investigation demonstrate that mid-crustal flow at high deformation temperatures was distributed throughout the proposed channel. As these rocks began to exhume to shallower crustal conditions and therefore lower temperatures, deformation began to become partitioned away from the core of the channel and into the bounding shear zones. Based on these results a new method (Rigid Grain Net) to measure the relative contributions of pure and simple shear (vorticity) is proposed. Detailed thermobarometric analysis was conducted on rocks from the highest structural level in the Khumbu region, Nepal to construct pressure-temperature-time-deformation paths during the tectonic evolution of the GHS between ~32-16 Ma. Another aspect of the project suggests that the most active feature of the region is the N-S trending Ama Drime Massif (ADM). By combining new structural interpretation with existing remote sensing data this investigation proposes that the ADM is being exhumed during extension that is coupled with denudation in the trans-Himalayan Arun River gorge. Together these data provide important insights into the dynamic links between regional-scale climate and crustal-scale tectonics.
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