Field documentation and genesis of back-structures in ductile and brittle regimes from the foreland part of a collisional orogen: examples from the Darjeeling–Sikkim Lesser Himalaya, India

  • Narayan Bose
  • Soumyajit MukherjeeEmail author
Original Paper


In the foreland-side of an orogen, thrust-related structures develop that verge towards the foreland (fore-thrusts). Although much less abundant, structures with opposite vergence (i.e., towards hinterland), named, back-structures, also exist. We report back-structures (exposure scale back-thrusts and associated folds) from the Darjeeling Sikkim Lesser Himalaya, India. These structures occur mainly in three Back-Structure Zones (BSZ-A, -B, and C). Back-structures probably originated in the ductile regime and continued in the brittle domain. Tectonic setting of the study area, such as- critical taper, duplexing, etc. indicates a good potential for the presence of back-structures in this region. Along with the previous work on back-structures in collisional orogens, Himalaya in particular, these structures seem to be ubiquitous. The correlation of field observations with tectonics indicate that mechanisms, e.g., critical taper, sub-surface barriers, and passive roof duplex played roles in forming back-structures in this part of the Sikkim Lesser Himalaya.


Collisional orogen Tectonics Deformation mechanism Meso-scale deformation Brittle shear zone Regional faults 



We thank IIT Bombay for funding the 2014 Sikkim fieldwork. The fieldwork in 2015 was funded by NB’s UGC Fellowship: F.2-2/98(SA-1). Feedback received from 30th Himalaya Karakoram Tibet Workshop (Dehradun, India) through NB’s poster presentation has been beneficial. Several comments by K. Pande and G. Mathew (Research Policy Committee, IIT Bombay), and S.G. Gokarn (retired from Indian Institute of Geomagnetism) kept NB alert. Positive detail critical reviews in two rounds provided by Rodolfo Carosi (University of Torino) and in a single round by Joyjit Dey (Leeds University) are acknowledged. Wolf-Christian Dullo and Monika Dullo are thanked for punctual editorial handling.

Supplementary material

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Steroplots of poles of the Y- and P-planes of fore- and back-shears measured in the field (JPEG 194 kb)
531_2019_1709_MOESM2_ESM.docx (59 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 58 kb)
531_2019_1709_MOESM3_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 14 kb)
531_2019_1709_MOESM4_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Supplementary material 4 (DOCX 14 kb)


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Copyright information

© Geologische Vereinigung e.V. (GV) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesIndian Institute of Technology BombayPowai, MumbaiIndia

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