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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2018-132
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2018-132
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 17 Dec 2018

Research article | 17 Dec 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Solid Earth (SE).

Regional Pliocene Exhumation of the Lesser Himalaya in the Indus Drainage

Peter D. Clift1,2, Peng Zhou1, Daniel F. Stockli3, and Jerzy Blusztajn4 Peter D. Clift et al.
  • 1Department of Geology and Geophysics, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
  • 2Research Center for Earth System Science. Yunnan University, Kunming, Yunnan Province, 650091, China
  • 3Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712-1722, USA
  • 4Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02540, USA

Abstract. New bulk sediment Sr and Nd isotope data, coupled with U-Pb dating of detrital zircon grains from sediment cored by International Ocean Discovery Program in the Arabian Sea, allow reconstruction of erosion in the Indus catchment since ~ 17 Ma. Increasing εNd values from 17 to 9.5 Ma imply relatively more erosion from the Karakoram/Kohistan, likely linked to slip on the Karakoram Fault and compression in the Southern and Eastern Karakoram. After a period of relative stability from 9.5 to 5.7 Ma there is a long-term decrease in εNd values that correlates with increasing relative abundance of > 300 Ma zircon grains that are most common in Himalayan bedrocks, precluding large-scale drainage capture as the cause of decreasing εNd values in the submarine fan. Although the initial increase in Lesser Himalaya-derived 1500–2300 Ma zircons after 8.3 Ma is consistent with earlier records from the foreland basin the much greater rise after 1.9 Ma, has not previously been recognized and suggests that widespread unroofing of the Crystalline Lesser Himalaya and to a lesser extent Nanga Parbat did not occur until after 1.9 Ma. No simple links can be made between erosion and the development of the South Asian Monsoon, implying a largely tectonic control to Lesser Himalayan unroofing.

Peter D. Clift et al.
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Short summary
Surface processes driven by climate have been linked to the tectonic evolution of mountain belts, with the Himalayas and Asian monsoon being a classic example. Sediments from the Arabian Sea now show an increase in erosion from the Karakoram between 17 and 9.5 Ma, followed by an increase in the relative flux from the Himalayas after 5.7 Ma and especially from the Lesser Himalayas after 1.9 Ma. Lack of correlation with climate histories suggests that tectonic forces dominate control over erosion.
Surface processes driven by climate have been linked to the tectonic evolution of mountain...
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