Himalayan Architecture & Geohazards

My research interests in the Himalayas revolve around understanding the tectonic and geological processes shaping the region, with a particular focus on geohazards and the development of the Main Central Thrust (MCT) fault system. Research in the Himalayas emphasizes the significance of lineaments in the Himalayan orogen and their potential role in seismic activity, especially highlighted by the 2015 Gorkha earthquake and its aftershock. Our research is revealing a shift in the understanding of Himalayan architecture towards an accretionary wedge model, with microplates delineated by major faults and cross-cutting lineaments.

Specifically, I am interested in using garnets collected along the MCT to reconstruct the pressure-temperature (P-T) paths experienced by rocks during the fault’s activity. These paths provide insights into the crustal evolution and mountain-building processes in the Himalayas. The MCT may have experienced periods of activity and quiescence, with reactivation occurring approximately 8-2 million years ago, leading to the formation of the high Himalayan Mountain range. Additionally, our modeling suggests that this reactivation coincided with very high erosion rates within the range. We have also been targeting garnets in erosional sediments to understand how they record the ancient Himalayas.

Overall, we aim to not only understand the movement and history of fault systems in the Himalayas, but also to utilize garnet chemistry as a tool to decipher broader tectonic processes and landscape evolution.

This work was funded by the National Science Foundation.

 

Recorded lectures regarding this work: