Structure of the North Indian continental margin in the Ladakh–Zanskar Himalayas: implications for the timing of obduction of the Spontang ophiolite, India–Asia collision and deformation events in the Himalaya
The collision of India and Asia can be defined as a process that started with the closing of the Tethyan ocean that, during Mesozoic and early Tertiary times, separated the two continental plates. Following initial contact of Indian and Asian continental crust, the Indian plate continued its northward drift into Asia, a process which continues to this day. In the Ladakh–Zanskar Himalaya the youngest marine sediments, both in the Indus suture zone and along the northern continental margin of India, are lowermost Eocene Nummulitic limestones dated at [similar]54 Ma. Along the north Indian shelf margin, southwest-facing folded Palaeocene–Lower Eocene shallow-marine limestones unconformably overlie highly deformed Mesozoic shelf carbonates and allochthonous Upper Cretaceous shales, indicating an initial deformation event during the latest Cretaceous–early Palaeocene, corresponding with the timing of obduction of the Spontang ophiolite onto the Indian margin. It is suggested here that all the ophiolites from Oman, along western Pakistan (Bela, Muslim Bagh, Zhob and Waziristan) to the Spontang and Amlang-la ophiolites in the Himalaya were obducted during the late Cretaceous and earliest Palaeocene, prior to the closing of Tethys.
Authors: Searle, Mike, Corfield, Richard I., Stephenson, Ben, McCarron, Joe