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The multistage exhumation history of the Kaghan Valley UHP series, NW Himalaya, Pakistan from U-Pb and 40Ar/39Ar ages

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Amphibole and mica 40Ar/39Ar ages as well as zircon, rutile and titanite U-Pb geochronology of eclogites and associated host rocks from the Higher Himalayan Crystalline Nappes (Indian Plate) in the Upper Kaghan Valley, Pakistan allow distinction of a multistage exhumation history. An Eocene age for peak-pressure metamorphism has been obtained by phengite 40Ar/39Ar (47.3 ± 0.3 Ma) and zircon U-Pb (47.3 ± 0.4 and 47.4 ± 0.3 Ma) ages from cover and basement gneisses. A very short-lived metamorphic peak and rapid cooling is documented by an amphibole 40Ar/39Ar age of 46.6 ± 0.5 Ma and a rutile U-Pb age of 44.1 ± 1.3 Ma from eclogites. Phengite and biotite ages from cover and basement sequences metamorphosed during the Himalayan orogeny are 34.5 ± 0.2 to 28.1 ± 0.2 Ma whereas youngest biotites, yielding 23.6 ± 0.1 and 21.7 ± 0.2 Ma, probably reflect argon partial resetting. The amphibole age, together with those derived from phengite and zircon demonstrate a rate of initial exhumation of 86–143 mm/a i.e. an extremely rapid transport of the Indian Plate continental crust from ultra-high pressure (UHP) conditions back to crustal levels (47–46 Ma for transport from 140 to 40 km depth). Subsequent exhumation (46–41 Ma, 40–35 km) slowed to about 1 mm/a at the base of the continental crust but increased again later towards slightly higher exhumation rates of ca. 2 mm/a (41–34 Ma, 35–20 km). This indicates a change from buoyancy-driven exhumation at mantle depths to compression forces related to continent-continent collision and accompanied crustal folding, thrusting and stacking that finally exposed the former deeply-buried rocks.
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Keywords: 40AR/39AR; EXHUMATION RATES; GEOCHRONOLOGY; HIMALAYA; KAGHAN VALLEY; U-PB

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 October 2010

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  • The European Journal of Mineralogy publishes original papers, review articles and letters dealing with the mineralogical sciences s.l. These include primarily mineralogy, petrology, geochemistry, crystallography and ore deposits, as well as environmental, applied and technical mineralogy. Nevertheless, papers in any related field, including cultural heritage, will be considered.
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