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Records of Himalayan Metamorphism and Contractional Tectonics in the central Himalayas (Darondi Khola, Nepal)
  • Elizabeth Catlos
Elizabeth Catlos
The University of Texas at Austin, Jackson School of Geosciences, Dept. of Geological Sciences, Austin TX, US

Corresponding Author:ejcatlos@jsg.utexas.edu

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The Himalayan orogen exposes a range of metamorphosed assemblages, from low-grade Indian shelf sediments of the Tethyan Formation to eclogite and ultra-high pressure rocks documented near the suture zone between the Indian craton and Asian subcontinent. Barrovian-grade pelites and mafic protoliths are exposed in the Himalayan core and include the Greater Himalayan Crystallines and Lesser Himalayan Formations. These units are separated by the Main Central Thrust (MCT). This fault system accommodated a significant amount of India-Asia convergence and is the focus of several models that explore ideas about the development of the range and collisional belts in general. These units provide critical information regarding the mechanisms of heat transfer within collisional belts. Garnets collected across the MCT record their growth history through changes in chemistry. These chemical changes can be extracted and modeled using a variety of thermodynamic approaches. This paper reviews the geological framework of the Himalayas with a focus on the protolith of its metamorphosed assemblages. It describes and applies particular thermobarometric techniques to decipher the metamorphic history of several garnet-bearing rocks collected across the MCT in central Nepal. Comparisons are made between the results of previously-reported conventional rim P-T conditions and P-T paths extracted using the Gibb’s method to isopleth thermobarometry and high-resolution P-T path modeling using the same data and assemblages. Predictions of the paths on garnet zoning are also presented for the high-resolution P-T path modeling and Gibb’s method using the program TheriaG. Although the approaches yield different absolute conditions and P-T path shapes, all are consistent with the development of the MCT shear zone due to imbrication of distinct rock packages. Greater Himalayan Crystalline garnets experienced higher-grade conditions that make extracting its P-T conditions and paths a challenge. Lesser Himalayan garnets appear to behave as closed systems and are ideally suited for thermodynamic approaches.