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The tectonics and paleo-drainage of the easternmost Himalaya (Arunachal Pradesh, India) recorded in the Siwalik rocks of the foreland basin

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>5/07/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>American Journal of Science
<mark>State</mark>Accepted/In press
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

The Siwalik sedimentary rocks of the Himalayan foreland basin preserve a record of Himalayan orogenesis, paleo-drainage evolution, and erosion. This study focuses on the still poorly studied easternmost Himalaya Siwalik record located directly downstream of the Namche Barwa syntaxis. We use luminescence, palaeomagnetism, magnetostratigraphy, and apatite fission-track dating to constrain the depositional ages of three Siwalik sequences: the Sibo outcrop (Upper Siwalik sediments at ca. 200-800 ka), the Remi section (Middle and Upper Siwalik rocks at ca. 0.8-6.6 Ma), and the Siang section (Middle Siwalik rocks at ca. <9.3±1.5 to <13.5±1.5 Ma). Cretaceous-Paleogene detrital zircon and apatite U-Pb ages, characteristic of the Transhimalayan Gangdese Batholiths that crop out northwest of the syntaxis, are present throughout the Sibo-Remi-Siang successions, confirming the existence of a Yarlung-Brahmaputra connection since at least the Late Miocene. A ca. 500 Ma zircon population increases up section, most strikingly sometime between 3.6-6.6 Ma, at the expense of Transhimalayan grains. We consider the ca 500 Ma population to be derived from the Tethyan or Greater Himalaya, and we interpret the up-section increase to reflect progressive exhumation of the Namche Barwa syntaxis. Early Cretaceous zircon and apatite U-Pb ages are rare in the Sibo, Remi, and Siang successions, but abundant in modern Siang River sediments. Zircons of this age range are characteristic of the Transhimalayan Bomi-Chayu batholiths, which crop out east of the syntaxis and are eroded by the Parlung River, a modern tributary of the Siang River. We interpret the difference in relative abundance of Early Cretaceous zircons between the modern and ancient sediments to reflect capture of the Parlung by the Siang after 800 ka.