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TitleThe South Tibetan Detachment System: history, advances, definition and future directions
AuthorKellett, D AORCID logo; Cottle, J M; Lareson, K P
SourceHimalayan tectonics: a modern synthesis; by Treloar, P J (ed.); Searle, M P (ed.); Geological Society, Special Publication 483, 2018 p. 1-24,
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20180091
PublisherGeological Society of London
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
AreaHimalayas; Sikkim; Nepal; Bhutan; India
Lat/Long WENS 75.0000 92.0000 34.0000 27.0000
Subjectstectonics; structural geology; igneous and metamorphic petrology; tectonic evolution; crustal evolution; orogenies; deformation; metamorphism; displacement; partial melting; pressure-temperature conditions; bedrock geology; structural features; faults; faults, thrust; shear zones; domes; models; South Tibetan Detachment System; Himalayan Orogen; Tibetan Plateau; Tethys Sea; Zanskar Shear Zone; Indus-Tsangpo suture; Phanerozoic; Cenozoic; Mesozoic; Cretaceous
Illustrationsgeoscientific sketch maps; cross-sections; photographs; photomicrographs; graphs; phase diagrams; models
ProgramGSC Atlantic Division
ProgramNSERC Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Released2018 07 18
AbstractRecognition and subsequent study of the syn-convergent low-angle normal faults and shear zones - the South Tibetan Detachment System (STDS) - that form the upper boundary of the Himalayan mid-crust fundamentally changed views of how the Himalayan orogenic system developed. This paper reviews the past four decades of discovery and major advances in our understanding of the detachment system. Significantly conflicting maps of the fault trace, as well as proposed extensions of the detachment system up to hundreds of kilometres both up and down dip of the main fault trace, call for a unifying definition of the detachment system based on structural criteria. The different proposed models for the formation of the STDS during tectonic evolution of the Himalayan orogen are compared. Finally, critical outstanding questions about the origin, extent and character of the detachment system are identified and point to future directions for research.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
The South Tibetan detachment system is a major fault zone that stretches the length of the Himalayan mountain chain. It was an active deformation zone during the Oligocene and Miocene epochs. Here we review its discovery and major advances in scientific understanding of the detachment system and it's role in forming the world's highest mountain belt. We propose a field-based definition of the structure, and identify gaps in our knowledge and future research directions that could be applied to overcome those gaps.

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