, Volume 168, Issue 5, pp 827-844
Date: 18 May 2010

Crustal Configuration of the Northwest Himalaya Based on Modeling of Gravity Data

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Abstract

The gravity response and crustal shortening in the Himalayan belt are modeled in detail for the first time in the NW Himalaya. The Bouguer gravity anomaly along a ~450-km-long (projected) transect from the Sub-Himalaya in the south to the Karakoram fault in the north across the Indus-Tsangpo Suture Zone is modeled using spectral analysis, wavelet transform and forward modeling. The spectral analysis suggests three-layer interfaces in the lithosphere at 68-, 34- and 11-km depths corresponding to the Moho, the Conrad discontinuity and the Himalayan decollement thrust, respectively. The coherence, admittance and cross spectra suggest crustal shortening because of convergence compensated by lithospheric folding at 536- and 178-km wavelength at the Moho and the upper-crustal level. An average effective elastic thickness of around 31 km is calculated using the coherence method. The gravity data are modeled to demarcate intracrustal to subcrustal regional thrust/fault zones. The geometrical constraints of these faults are obtained in the space scale domain using the wavelet transform, showing good correlation with the major tectonic boundaries. The crustal configuration along the transect shows how the Moho depth increases from 45 to 80 km towards the north with the locus of flexure of the Indian crust beneath the Higher Himalayan zone. The combination of forward modeling and wavelet analysis gives insight into the subsurface extent and geometry of regional structures across the NW Himalaya.