The detrital mineral record of Cenozoic sedimentary rocks in the Central Burma Basin : implications for the evolution of the eastern Himalayan orogen and timing of large scale river capture
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This study contributes to the understanding of major river evolution in Southeast Asia during the Cenozoic. In order to trace the evolution of a hypothesized palaeo-Yarlung Tsangpo-Irrawaddy River, this work undertakes the first systematic provenance study of detrital minerals from Cenozoic synorogenic fluvial and deltaic sedimentary rocks of the Central Burma Basin, employing a combination of high precision geochronology, thermochronology, and geochemistry analytical techniques on single grain detrital zircon and white mica. The dataset is compared to published isotopic data from potential source terranes in order to determine source provenance and exhumation history from source to sink. A Yarlung Tsangpo-Irrawaddy connection existed as far back as ca. 42 Ma and disconnection occurred at 18–20 Ma, based on provenance changes detected using a combination of U-Pb ages and εHf(t) values on detrital zircons, and ⁴ºAr/³⁹Ar dating on detrital micas. During the Eocene and Oligocene, units are dominated by U-Pb age and high positive εHf(t) values, characteristic of a southern Lhasa Gangdese magmatic arc source. An antecedent Yarlung Tsangpo-Irrawaddy River system formed the major river draining the eastern Himalaya at this time. A significant change in provenance is seen in the early Miocene, where detritus is predominantly derived from bedrock of the eastern Himalayan syntaxis, western Yunnan and Burma, a region drained by the modern Irrawaddy-Chindwin river system characterized by Cenozoic U-Pb ages and negative εHf(t) values. This is attributed to the disconnection of the Yarlung-Irrawaddy River and capture by the proto-Brahmaputra River, re-routing Tibetan Transhimalayan detritus to the eastern Himalayan foreland basin. Re-set zircon fission track ages of 14-8 Ma present in all units is used to infer post-depositional basin evolution related to changes in the stress regime accommodating the continued northward migration of India. The early Miocene initiation of the Jiali-Parlung-Gaoligong-Sagaing dextral shear zone and the continued northward movement of the coupled India-Burma plate aided in focusing deformation inside the syntaxis contributing to the disconnection of the Yarlung Tsangpo-Irrawaddy system, linking surface deformation and denudation with processes occurring at deeper crustal levels.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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