Crustal reworking at Nanga Parbat, Pakistan: Metamorphic consequences of thermal-mechanical coupling facilitated by erosion
Within the syntaxial bends of the India-Asia collision the Himalaya terminate abruptly in a pair of metamorphic massifs. Nanga Parbat in the west and Namche Barwa in the east are actively deforming antiformal domes which expose Quaternary metamorphic rocks and granites. The massifs are transected by major Himalayan rivers (Indus and Tsangpo) and are loci of deep and rapid exhumation. On the basis of velocity and attenuation tomography and microseismic, magnetotelluric, geochronological, petrological, structural, and geomorphic data we have collected at Nanga Parbat we propose a model in which this intense metamorphic and structural reworking of crustal lithosphere is a consequence of strain focusing caused by significant erosion within deep gorges cut by the Indus and Tsangpo as these rivers turn sharply toward the foreland and exit their host syntaxes. The localization of this phenomenon at the terminations of the Himalayan arc owes its origin to both regional and local feedbacks between erosion and tectonics.