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Paleomagnetic tests of tectonic reconstructions of the India-Asia collision zone

Abstract : Several solutions have been proposed to explain the long-standing kinematic observation that postcollisional upper crustal shortening within the Himalaya and Asia is much less than the magnitude of India-Asia convergence. Here we implement these hypotheses in global plate reconstructions and test paleolatitudes predicted by the global apparent polar wander path against independent, and the most robust paleomagnetic data. Our tests demonstrate that (1) reconstructed 600–750 km postcollisional intra-Asian shortening is a minimum value; (2) a 52 Ma collision age is only consistent with paleomagnetic data if intra-Asian shortening was ~900 km; a ~56–58 Ma collision age requires greater intra-Asian shortening; (3) collision ages of 34 or 65 Ma incorrectly predict Late Cretaceous and Paleogene paleolatitudes of the Tibetan Himalaya (TH); and (4) Cretaceous counterclockwise rotation of India cannot explain the paleolatitudinal divergence between the TH and India. All hypotheses, regardless of collision age, require major Cretaceous extension within Greater India.
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Wentao Huang, Douwe J.J. van Hinsbergen, P.C. Lippert, Zhaojie Guo, Guillaume Dupont-Nivet. Paleomagnetic tests of tectonic reconstructions of the India-Asia collision zone. Geophysical Research Letters, 2015, 42 (8), pp.2642-2649. ⟨10.1002/2015GL063749⟩. ⟨insu-01143715⟩

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