Himalaya

The history of the topography in the Himalaya orogen remains a major unresolved question with important implication for understanding the erosional processes, the tectonic history and the evolution of the climate during the uplift of the Himalaya.

Successful research requires a multidisciplinary approach involving geologic tools as varied as structural geology, geochronology, geomorphology, geochemistry, paleoclimatology, palynology, sedimentology and paleomagnetism.

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Despite the numerous geological investigations previously performed on the Himalayas, there are still some important unresolved questions, especially on the eastern side of the Himalaya region, in the remote kingdom of Bhutan and the Indian region of Arunashal Pradesh. The eastern Himalayas provide a unique opportunity to test the effect of climate on mountain uplift.

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The late Miocene uplift of the Shillong plateau located to the south of the Eastern Himalayas, in India, has created a rain shadow shielding the eastern Himalayas from monsoonal precipitation and resulting in a totally different exhumation and erosion history of this part of the Himalayas (Grujic et al., 2006).

The aim of these project is to understand the tectonic-climatic interactions in the Siwalik sediments of the Eastern Himalayas. Within a team of international geoscientists studying the Siwalik sediments in the Eastern Himalayas, the aim of this research project is to date the sediments – using magnetostratigraphy – to provide the age framework for all other aspects of the project.

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The new paleomagnetic data of the Siwalik group in Buthan will add to previous paleomagnetic results of the Siwalik group in Pakistan and in Nepal, providing the first complete regional description and time frame of the detrital record of the Himalayas. The study section is the Siwalik group exposed in the the Eastern Himalayas, deposited during the uplift of the Himalayan foreland basin and consisting of several kilometers of siltstone to sandstone sequences. Earlier paleomagnetic studies proved that this section is suitable for obtainig good paleomagnetic results. These will contribute to the tectonic history in the eastern part of the Himalaya orogen during the mountain uplift.

Himalayan projects collaborators:

Students:

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Gwladys Govin (Lancaster University) PhD thesis 2017 “Miocene-Pliocene erosion products of the Eastern Syntaxis preserved in the palaeo-Brahmaputra deposits in Arunachal Pradesh, India.”.

Francois Chirouze (Grenoble University) PhD thesis 2011 “Contrôles tectonique et climatique du drainage himalayen et son évolution depuis 15MA”.

Veronique Erens (Utrecht University)  MSc thesis: “Magnetostratigraphic record of tectonic-climate interactions in the Siwalik sediments of the Eastern Himalayas, Bhutan”