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Sediment recycling at convergent plate margins (Indo-Burman Ranges and Andaman-Nicobar Ridge)

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

  • Eduardo Garzanti
  • Mara Limonta
  • Alberto Resentini
  • Pinaki C. Bandopadhyay
  • Yani Najman
  • Sergio Andò
  • Giovanni Vezzoli
Journal publication date08/2013
JournalEarth-Science Reviews
Volume123
Number of pages20
Pages113-132
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Subduction complexes large enough to be exposed subaerially and become significant sources of terrigenous detritus are formed by tectonic accretion above trenches choked with thick sections of remnant-ocean turbidites. They thus need to be connected along strike to a major collision zone, where huge volumes of orogenic detritus are produced and conveyed via a major fluvio-deltaic system to the deep sea. In this article we investigate sediment generation and recycling in the archetype of such settings, the eastern prolongation of the Himalayan collisional system. We illustrate the petrographic and heavy-mineral suites of modern sands produced all along the Indo-Burman–Andaman–Nicobar subduction complex, which includes accreted abyssal-plain sediments overthrust by ophiolites and unconformably overlain by volcaniclastic forearc strata. “Subduction Complex Provenance” is thus composite, and overwhelmingly consists of detritus recycled from largely turbiditic parent rocks (Recycled Clastic Provenance), with local supply from obducted ultramafic and mafic rocks of forearc lithosphere (Ophiolite Provenance) or recycled paleovolcanic to neovolcanic sources (Volcanic Arc Provenance). In order to specifically investigate the effect of recycling, we characterize the diverse detrital signatures of Cenozoic sandstones originally deposited during subsequent stages of “soft” and “hard” Himalayan collision and presently exposed from Bangladesh to the Andaman Islands, and discuss the reasons for compositional discrepancies between parent sandstones and their recycled daughter sands. Long-distance, multistep and multicyclic sediment transfer along and across convergent plate boundaries follows complex trajectories in space and time, which must be resolved whenever we want to obtain a reasonably faithful paleogeographic reconstruction for the recent and less recent geological past.