Rheology of the Indian and Tarim plates in the Karakoram continent-to-continent collision zone

A. Caporali

Abstract


Bouguer gravity anomalies in the region of Western Himalayas, Karakoram and Tien Shan show large negative values, but classical isostatic models are insufficient to account for the detailed pattern of the observed anomalies. In the past years the gravimetric surveys in the Karakoram done by Marussi, Caputo and others in 1954 have been extended and intensified. The full body of available gravimetric data, including the pendulum observations by De Filippi and Hedin at the beginning of this century, have been re-analyzed. Terrain corrections have been computed systematically for all available data using a unique algorithm and Digital Terrain Model. The isostatic anomalies along a profile from the Indo-Gangetic foredeep, across the Karakoram range and terminating in the Tarim basin show the oscillating values already noted by Marussi. It is here proposed that this oscillatory pattern can be explained by a model in which the convergent boundaries of the Indian and Tarim plates deform by elastic flexure, besides isostasy. The gravity data constrain the numerical values of the model parameters, particularly the flexural rigidity of the plates. For the Indian plate the best fitting value of the flexural rigidity is D = 5 1024 N m, a value very similar to those reported in Central Himalaya. The flexural rigidity of the Tarim plate turns out to be considerably larger D = 7 1025 N m, which makes the Tarim more rigid than the neighboring Central Tibet. Both plates are loaded by an estimated shear stress of 7 1012 N m-1 located in a region corresponding to the Nanga Parbat Haramosh syntaxis. It is concluded that the Indo-Asian continental collision in the Western Himalaya and Karakoram resulted in the development of flexural basins on both sides, unlike the Central Himalaya where the collision produced a flexural basin, the Ganga basin, to the south and, to the north, the indentation of an isostatically supported Tibetan block with possible rheological layering and eastward lateral extrusion.

Keywords


rheology of the lithosphere;gravity anomalies;isostasy

Full Text:

PDF

References


DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-3840
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it (Read more).
Ok


Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X