Tectonostratigraphy of the lesser Himalaya of Bhutan: Implications for the along-strike stratigraphic continuity of the northern Indian margin

Sean Long*, Nadine McQuarrie, Tobgay Tobgay, Catherine Rose, George Gehrels, Djordje Grujic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)


New mapping in eastern Bhutan, in conjunction with U-Pb detrital zircon and delta;13C data, defines Lesser Himalayan tectonostratigraphy. The Daling-Shumar Group, 2-6 km of quartzite (Shumar Formation) overlain by 3 km of schist (Daling Formation), contains ~1.8-1.9 Ga intrusive orthogneiss bodies and youngest detrital zircon peaks, indicating a Paleoproterozoic deposition age. The Jaishidanda Formation, 0.5-1.7 km of garnet-biotite schist and quartzite, stratigraphically overlies the Daling Formation beneath the Main Central thrust, and yields youngest detrital zircon peaks ranging from ~0.8-1.0 Ga to ca. 475 Ma, indicating a Neoproterozoic-Ordovician(?) deposition age range. The Baxa Group, 2-3 km of quartzite, phyllite, and dolomite, overlies the Daling-Shumar Group in the foreland, and yields ca. 0.9 Ga to ca. 520 Ma youngest detrital zircon peaks, indicating a Neoproterozoic-Cambrian(?) deposition age range. Baxa dolomite overlying quartzite containing ca. 525 Ma detrital zircons yielded delta;13C values between +3‰ and +6‰, suggesting deposition during an Early Cambrian positive δ13C excursion. Above the Baxa Group, the 2-3 km thick Diuri Formation diamictite yielded a ca. 390 Ma youngest detrital zircon peak, suggesting correlation with the late Paleozoic Gondwana supercontinent glaciation. Finally, the Permian Gondwana succession consists of sandstone, siltstone, shale, and coal. Our deposition age data from Bhutan: (1) reinforce suggestions that Paleoproterozoic (~1.8-1.9 Ga) Lesser Himalayan deposition was continuous along the entire northern Indian margin; (2) show a likely east ward continuation of a Permian over Cambrian unconformity in the Lesser Himalayan section identified in Nepal and northwest India; and (3) indicate temporal overlap between Neoproterozoic-Paleozoic Lesser Himalayan (proximal) and Greater Himalayan-Tethyan Himalayan (distal) deposition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1406-1426
Number of pages21
JournalGeological Society of America Bulletin
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


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