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Insights on the kinematics of the India-Eurasia collision from global geodynamic models


Zahirovic, S and Muller, RD and Seton, M and Flament, N and Gurnis, M and Whittaker, J, Insights on the kinematics of the India-Eurasia collision from global geodynamic models, Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 13, (4) Article Q04W11. ISSN 1525-2027 (2012) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 The American Geophysical Union

DOI: doi:10.1029/2011GC003883


The Eocene India-Eurasia collision is a first order tectonic event whose nature and chronology remains controversial. We test two end-member collision scenarios using coupled global plate motion-subduction models. The first, conventional model, invokes a continental collision soon after !60 Ma between a maximum extent Greater India and an Andean-style Eurasian margin. The alternative scenario involves a collision between a minimum extent Greater India and a NeoTethyan back-arc at !60 Ma that is subsequently subducted along southern Lhasa at an Andean-style margin, culminating with continent-continent contact at !40 Ma. Our numerical models suggest the conventional scenario does not adequately reproduce mantle structure related to Tethyan convergence. The alternative scenario better reproduces the discrete slab volumes and their lateral and vertical distribution in the mantle, and is also supported by the distribution of ophiolites indicative of Tethyan intraoceanic subduction, magmatic gaps along southern Lhasa and a two-stage slowdown of India. Our models show a strong component of southward mantle return flow for the Tethyan region, suggesting that the common assumption of near-vertical slab sinking is an oversimplification with significant consequences for interpretations of seismic tomography in the context of subduction reference frames.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:plate tectonics, mantle dynamics, India-Eurasia collision
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geology
Research Field:Structural geology and tectonics
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences
UTAS Author:Whittaker, J (Associate Professor Jo Whittaker)
ID Code:88440
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:54
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2014-02-03
Last Modified:2017-10-30

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