Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

    • New age constraints on the cooling and unroofing history of the Trans-Himalayan Ladakh Batholith (Kargil area), N. W. India

      Rasoul B Sorkhabi Arvind K Jain Susumu Nishimura Tetsumaru Itaya Nand Lal R M Manickavasagam Takahiro Tagami

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      Thermotectonic history of the Trans-Himalayan Ladakh Batholith in the Kargil area, N. W. India, is inferred from new age data obtained here in conjunction with previously published ages. Fission-track (FT) ages on apatite fall around 20±2 Ma recording cooling through temperatures of ∼100°C and indicating an unroofing of 4 km of the Ladakh Range since the Early Miocene. Coexisting apatite and zircon FT ages from two samples in Kargil show the rocks to have cooled at an average rate of 5–6°C/Ma in the past 40 Ma. Zircon FT ages together with mica K−Ar cooling ages from the Ladakh Batholith cluster around 40–50 Ma, probably indicating an Eocene phase of uplift and erosion that affected the bulk of the batholith after the continental collision of India with the Ladakh arc at 55 Ma. Components of the granitoids in Upper Eocene-Lower Oligocene sediments of the Indus Molasse in Ladakh supports this idea. Three hornblende K−Ar ages of 90 Ma, 55 Ma, and 35 Ma are also reported; these distinctly different ages probably reflect cooling through 500–550°C of three phases of I-type plutonism in Ladakh also evidenced by other available radiometric data: 102 Ma (mid-Cretaceous), 60 Ma (Palaeocene), and 40 Ma (Late Eocene); the last phase being localised sheet injections. The geodynamic implications of the age data for the India-Asia collision are discussed.

    • Vorticity patterns along the Main Central Thrust Zone, Alaknanda–Dhauli Ganga Valleys (Garhwal), Uttarakhand Himalaya


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      The Greater Himalayan Sequence (GHS), constituting the anatectic core of the Himalaya, is generally modelled as a mid-crustal southward extruding channel or wedge. Movements along the Main Central Thrust (MCT) in the south and the South Tibetan Detachment System (STDS) in the north and exhumation along the Himalayan front played an important role in the extrusion of the GHS from beneath the Tibetan plateau during the Miocene. To understand the kinematics of these orogen-scale shear zones, it is important to constrain the percentage of pure shear associated with them. In this paper, we present the kinematic vorticity data from the Main Central Thrust Zone (MCTZ), Alaknanda and Dhauli Ganga Valleys (Garhwal), Uttarakhand Himalaya. The mean kinematic vorticity number (W$_{m} $), which can be used to calculate the percentage of pure shear, has been estimated by analysing the rotational behaviour of rigid grains in a ductile matrix. The analysis reveals that pure shear provides significant contribution (30–52%) to the deformation associated with southward ductile shearing along the MCT, with the highest mean kinematic vorticity number (W$_{m} $) values close to the MCT. The results provide important quantitative constraints for the boundary conditions in the extrusion models. The Wm values from within the anatectic core have not been reported as most of the vorticity gauges fail due to increased deformation temperatures in this region.


      $\bullet$ Orogen-scale mid-crustal southward extruding channel or wedge models deformation of the Great Himalayan Sequence (GHS) of the anatectic core, whose kinematics is to be understood by constraining the percentage of pure shear.

      $\bullet$ Vorticity estimation near the Main Central Thrust Zone (MCTZ) is performed along the Alaknanda–Dhauli Ganga Valleys, Uttarakhand Himalaya along with critical analysis of published vorticity data from the other areas.

      $\bullet$ Mean kinematic vorticity number (Wm), a quantitative estimator of pure shear percentage during non-coaxial deformation in a shear zone, varies between 0.675 and 0.875 within the MCTZ, corresponding to a pure shear percentage between 30% and 52%.

      $\bullet$ A general trend of decreasing pure shear component towards the channel boundaries is explained by velocity profile within an extruding channel of hot and low-viscosity mid-crustal rocks and observed from the compiled vorticity data from other Himalayan traverses.

      $\bullet$ Our results agree with the channel flow conceptual model and provide quantitative constraints on the percentage of pure shear associated with deformation within the GHS.

    • Major unconformity between two juxtaposed sedimentary belts of the Lesser Himalaya, as revealed from the U–Pb zircon geochronology


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      Available U–Pb zircon detrital geochronology (DZ) data from the Lesser Himalaya reveals that the sediments within the Inner Lesser Himalaya (iLH) were deposited ${\sim}$1850 Ma. The Outer Lesser Himalaya (oLH) sedimentary succession was much younger between 950 and 525 Ma; this belt also witnessed younger marine transgressions during the Permian, Jurassic–Cretaceous and Eocene. Thus, the Lesser Himalaya is characterized by two distinct sedimentary belts, which are juxtaposed against each other along the Tons–Daling–Shumar Thrust (TDST), at present. Further, these belts also represent two distinct terranes, delimited by major tectonic boundaries: (i) the Late Paleoproterozoic iLH Terrane bounded by the Vaikrita Thrust (VT)/Main Central Thrust (MCT) in the north and TDST in the south, and (ii) the Neoproterozoic oLH Terrane delimited by the TDST and the Main Boundary Thrust (MBT). The iLH Terrane represents the main magmatic arc and back-arc basin of the Columbia Supercontinental Assembly. The oLH Terrane also indicates the back-arc basin of the Rodinia Supercontinental Assembly during the Neoproterozoic. These terranes record a major stratigraphic break around 1000–800 myr, when the depocenter for sedimentation shifted southwards during the Tonian to the outer parts of the Lesser Himalaya (oLH).

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