Publication Details

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Title: The origin of Himalayan anatexis and inverted metamorphism: Models and constraints
Authors: T.M. Harrison, M. Grove, O.M. Lovera, and E.J. Catlos
Publication: Jour. Asian Earth. Sci., v. 17, p. 755‐722.
Publish Date: Dec 1999
DOI: 10.1016/S1367-9120(99)00018-8
PDF: pdf
BibTEX Citation: Harrison:1999.bib


The key to comprehending the tectonic evolution of the Himalaya is to understand the relationships between large‐scale faulting, anatexis, and inverted metamorphism. The great number and variety of mechanisms that have been proposed to explain some or all of these features reflects the fact that fundamental constraints on such models have been slow in coming. Recent developments, most notably in geophysical imaging and geochronology, have been key to coalescing the results of varied Himalayan investigations into constraints with which to test proposed evolutionary models. These models fall into four general types: (1) the inverted metamorphic sequences within the footwall of the Himalayan thrust and adjacent hanging wall anatexis are spatially and temporally related by thrusting; (2) thrusting results from anatexis; (3) anatexis results from normal faulting; and (4) apparent inverted metamorphism in the footwall of the Himalayan thrust is produced by underplating of right‐way‐up metamorphic sequences. We review a number of models and find that many are inconsistent with available constraints, most notably the recognition that the exposed crustal melts and inverted metamorphic sequences not temporally related. The generalization that appears to best explain the observed distribution of crustal melts and inverted metamorphic sequences is that, due to specific petrological and tectonic controls, episodic magmatism and out‐of‐sequence thrusting developed during continuous convergence juxtaposing allochthonous igneous and metamorphic rocks. This coincidental juxtaposition has proven to be something of a red herring, unduly influencing attention toward finding a causal relationship between anatexis and inverted metamorphism.