Geological Evolution of the Himalayan Mountains

  • A. K. Jain
Part of the Springer Geology book series (SPRINGERGEOL)


The Indian continental lithospheric (ICL) Plate did not collide with Asia, initially due to the presence of vast Neo-Tethyan Ocean. Instead, the ICL first subducted beneath the Trans-Himalayan Ladakh magmatic arc at ~58 Ma to produce the ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) metamorphosed Tso Morari Crystallines (TMC). The Himalaya first emerged from this deeply subducted terrane between 53 and 50 Ma, followed by sequential subduction and imbrications of the ICL. It was repeatedly metamorphosed during ~45–35 and ~25–15 Ma and had undergone episodic exhumation during rise of the Himalaya since 45 Ma, whose erosion brought huge sediments in the Cenozoic Himalayan foreland basin.

Sub-horizontal subduction of the Indian Plate beneath the Himalaya caused accretion/imbrication of the upper crust by ongoing northward episodic push, which caused southward-directed thrusts. True signature of continental collision can only be identified along the Bangong-Nujiang Suture (BNS) Zone in Central Tibet with opposite downward convergence of the India and Asian Plates.


India-Asia convergence Himalaya Geometry Indian Plate Continental subduction vs. collision 



This chapter has emerged from many field expeditions in Karakoram, Ladakh and adjoining regions, which were funded by Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi. Sandeep Singh from the IIT Roorkee has been an inspiration to explore more along with many other students. Thanks are due to Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi, for the awards of Senior and Honorary Scientist Schemes and to Dr. N. Gopikrishnan, Director, CSIR-Central Building Research Institute, Roorkee, for the facilities.

Discussions with V.C. Thakur and P.K. Mukherjee (Dehradun) on tectonics of Ladakh and Md. Israil and V.K. Gahlaut on geophysical aspects were extremely useful in clearing many doubts. O.N. Bhargava has been instrumental in highlighting many shortcomings in this write-up and also contributing to the geology of the Tethys.

Thanks are due to S.K. Tandon and Neal Gupta for the invitation to write this chapter and for providing critical comments on this chapter. The author appreciates gesture of Md Israil and B.R. Arora for providing me the original drawings of Fig. 10.10.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • A. K. Jain
    • 1
  1. 1.CSIR-Central Building Research InstituteRoorkeeIndia

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