Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science
Volume 106 Issue 3 September 1997 pp 169-179
The cooling and tectonic history of the Higher Himalayan Crystallines (HHC) in southwest Zanskar (along the Kishtwar-Padam traverse) is constrained by K-Ar biotite and fission-track (FT) apatite and zircon ages. A total of nine biotite samples yields ages in the range of 14–24 Ma, indicating the post-metamorphic cooling of these rocks through ∼ 300°C in the Miocene. Overall, the ages become younger away from the Zanskar Shear Zone (ZSZ), which marks the basement-cover detachment fault between the HHC and the Tethyan sedimentary zone, towards the core of the HHC. The same pattern is also observed for the FT apatite ages, which record the cooling of the rocks through ∼ 120°C. The apatite ages range from 11 Ma in the vicinity of the ZSZ to 4 Ma at the granitic core of the HHC. This pattern of discordant cooling ages across the HHC in southwest Zanskar reveals an inversion of isotherms due to fast uplift-denudation (hence cooling) of the HHC core, which is, in turn, related to domal uplift within the HHC. The Chisoti granite gneiss is the exposed domal structure along the studied traverse. Cooling history of two granite gneisses at the core of the HHC is also quantified with the help of the biotite, zircon and apatite ages; the time-temperatures thus obtained indicate a rapid pulse of cooling at ∼ 6 Ma, related to accelerated uplift-denudation of the HHC core at this time. Long-term denudation rates of 0.5–0.7 mm/yr are estimated for the high-grade rocks of the Higher Himalaya in southwest Zanskar over the past 4.0–5.5 m.yr.
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