Evidence for structural discordance in the inverted metamorphic sequence of Sikkim himalaya: Towards resolving the main central thrust controversy

Saibal Gupta, Aditi Das, Sudipta Goswami, Ananda Modak, Suman Mondal

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Inverted, metamorphism in the Himalayas is closely associated with the Main Central Thrust (MCT). In the western Himalayas, the Main Central Thrust conventionally separates high grade metamorphic rocks of the Higher Himalayan Crystalline Sequence (HHCS) from unmetamorphosed rocks of the Inner sedimentary Belt. In the eastern Himalayas, the Inner sedimentary Belt is absent, and the HHCS and meta-sedimentary Lesser Himalayan Sequence (LHS) apparently form a continuous Barrovian metamorphic sequence, leading to confusion about the precise location of the MCT. In this study, it is demonstrated that migmatitic gneisses of the sillimanite zone in the higher structural levels of the HHCS are multiply deformed, with two phases of penetrative fabric formation (S 1HHCS and S2HHCS) followed by third folding event associated with a spaced, NW-SE trending, north-east dipping foliation (S 3HHCS). The underlying LHS schists (kyanite zone and lower) are also multiply deformed, with the bedding S0 being isoclinally folded (F1LHS), and subsequently refolded (F2LHS and F 3LHS). The contact zone between, the HHCS and LHS is characterized by ductile, top-to-the southwest shearing and stabilization of a pervasive foliation that is consistently oriented NW-SE and dips northeast. This foliation is parallel to the S3HHCS foliation in the HHCS, and the S 2LHS in the LHS. Early lineations in the HHCS and LHS also show different dispersions across the contact shear zone, implying that pre-thrusting orientations of the two units were distinct. The contact shear zone is therefore interpreted to be a plane of structural discordance, shows a shear sense consistent with thrust movement and is associated with mineral growth during Barrovian metamorphism. It may well be considered to represent the MCT in this region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-322
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Geological Society of India
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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