Neotectonics and structure of the Himalayan deformation front in the Kashmir Himalaya, India: Implication in defining what controls a blind thrust front in an active fold-thrust belt

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Yann G Gavillot1, Andrew Meigs1, J Douglas Yule2, Tammy M Rittenour3 and manz Oor ahmad Malik4, (1)Oregon State Univ, Corvallis, OR, United States, (2)California State University Northridge, Northridge, CA, United States, (3)Utah State Univ, Logan, UT, United States, (4)Department of Geology, Jammu University, Jammu, India
Active tectonics of a deformation front constrains the kinematic evolution and structural interaction between the fold-thrust belt and most-recently accreted foreland basin. In Kashmir, the Himalayan Frontal thrust (HFT) is blind, characterized by a broad fold, the Suruin-Mastargh anticline (SMA), and displays no emergent faults cutting either limb. A lack of knowledge of the rate of shortening and structural framework of the SMA hampers quantifying the earthquake potential for the deformation front. Our study utilized the geomorphic expression of dated deformed terraces on the Ujh River in Kashmir. Six terraces are recognized, and three yield OSL ages of 53 ka, 33 ka, and 0.4 ka. Vector fold restoration of long terrace profiles indicates a deformation pattern characterized by regional uplift across the anticlinal axis and back-limb, and by fold limb rotation on the forelimb. Differential uplift across the fold trace suggests localized deformation. Dip data and stratigraphic thicknesses suggest that a duplex structure is emplaced at depth along the basal décollement, folding the overlying roof thrust and Siwalik-Muree strata into a detachment-like fold. Localized faulting at the fold axis explains the asymmetrical fold geometry. Folding of the oldest dated terrace, suggest that rock uplift rates across the SMA range between 2.0-1.8 mm/yr. Assuming a 25° dipping ramp for the blind structure on the basis of dip data constraints, the shortening rate across the SMA ranges between 4.4-3.8 mm/yr since ~53 ka. Of that rate, ~1 mm/yr is likely absorbed by minor faulting in the near field of the fold axis. Given that Himalaya-India convergence is ~18.8-11 mm/yr, internal faults north of the deformation front, such as the Riasi thrust absorbs more of the Himalayan shortening than does the HFT in Kashmir. We attribute a non-emergent thrust at the deformation front to reflect deformation controlled by pre-existing basin architecture in Kashmir, in which the thick succession of foreland strata Murree-Siwalik (8-9 km) overlie a deepened basal décollement. Blind thrusting reflects some combination of layer-parallel shortening, high stratigraphic overburden, relative youth of the HFT, and/or sustained low shortening rate on 10^5 yrs to longer timescales.