P–T–t–D paths of Everest Series schist, Nepal

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Abstract

U(–Th)–Pb geochronology, geothermobarometric estimates and macro- and micro-structural analysis, quantify the pressure–temperature–time–deformation (PTtD) history of Everest Series schist and calcsilicate preserved in the highest structural levels of the Everest region. Pristine staurolite schist from the Everest Series contains garnet with prograde compositional zoning and yields a P–T estimate of 649 ± 21 °C, 6.2 ± 0.7 kbar. Other samples of the Everest Series contain garnet with prograde zoning and staurolite with cordierite overgrowths that yield a P–T estimate of 607 ± 25 °C, 2.9 ± 0.6 kbar. The Lhotse detachment (LD) marks the base of the Everest Series. Structurally beneath the LD, within the Greater Himalayan Sequence (GHS), garnet zoning is homogenized, contains resorption rinds and yields peak temperature estimates of ∼650 ± 50 °C. P–T estimates record a decrease in pressure from ∼6 to 3 kbar and equivalent temperatures from structurally higher positions in the overlying Everest Series, through the LD and into GHS. This transition is interpreted to result from the juxtaposition of the Everest Series in the hangingwall with the GHS footwall rocks during southward extrusion and decompression along the LD system. An age constraint for movement on the LD is provided by the crystallization age of the Nuptse granite (23.6 ± 0.7 Ma), a body that was emplaced syn- to post-solid-state fabric development. Microstructural evidence suggests that deformation in the LD progressed from a distributed ductile shear zone into the structurally higher Qomolangma detachment during the final stages of exhumation. When combined with existing geochronological, thermobarometric and structural data from the GHS and Main Central thrust zone, these results form the basis for a more complete model for the P–T–t–D evolution of rocks exposed in the Mount Everest region.

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