The Asia–Kohistan–India Collision: Review and Discussion

  • J.-P. Burg
Part of the Frontiers in Earth Sciences book series (FRONTIERS)


The Karakoram/Kohistan/India collision zone provides a rare opportunity to study the roles of subduction and tectonic accretion in crustal growth processes. Magmatic histories and the timing of major tectonic events in this region become acceptably well understood. Creation of crustal material was accomplished by juvenile supra-subduction magmatism that produced, within the Tethys Ocean, the Kohistan island arc from Jurassic to Oligocene times (ca 150–40 Ma). Inversion of within-arc and backarc basins added volcanic and sedimentary rocks into the new crust. Forearc sequences are almost lacking, which suggests that this part of the hanging-wall lithosphere has been consumed in the subduction. Obduction of the Kohistan arc onto the Indian continent lasted 10–15 Ma, between ca 60 and 45 Ma, before collisional orogeny started at the expenses of continental India. That was a relatively short event compared to protracted accretion of Kohistan to Asia, between ca 100 and 30 Ma.


Ultramafic Rock Suture Zone Plutonic Rock Accretionary Wedge Indian Continent 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author has carried out and supervised geological investigations on Kohistan over more than 15 years. This contribution summarizes his personal view stemming out of this effort shared with Master and PhD students and collaborators in Pakistan, in particular Prof. N.M Chaudhry from Lahore, and S.S. Hussain and H. Dawood from the Museum of Natural History at Islamabad. All were co-authors of publications referred to in this synthesis and all participated in developing the ideas presented here. G. Stampfli generously helped in generating Fig. 10.2. Pointed reviews from Mike Searle and Paul Ryan have been essential to improve this presentation of the Kohistan Arc.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth sciencesETH- and University ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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