Convergence across the northwest Himalaya from GPS measurements

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Abstract

[1] Horizontal velocities of 26 Global Positioning System (GPS) stations in the northwest Himalayan region provide new constraints on the partitioning of India-Eurasia convergence and elastic strain accumulation about the locked Main Frontal Thrust (MFT). The northwest-striking Karakorum fault slips at 11 ± 4 mm/yr and contributes to east-west extension of southern Tibet and westward motion of the northwest Himalaya towards Nanga Parbat, rather than playing a role in eastward extrusion of Tibet. Crustal shortening across the Himalaya occurs within a zone centered about 100 km north of the Siwalik Foothills and the MFT. Model inversions of the GPS data indicate that the MFT is locked over a width of ∼100 km. Comparison with geologic MFT-slip-rate estimates suggests that this zone is building up a slip deficit at a rate of 14 ± 1 mm/yr and will eventually fail in future great earthquakes.

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