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The India-Asia collision from the perspective of Myanmar : insights from paleomagnetism and paleogeographic reconstructions

Abstract : The Himalayan-Tibetan orogen, formed primarily due to the India-Asia collision, represents a complex interplay of collisional tectonics, climate and environmental processes. However, its paleogeographic evolution, as well as the timing of the collision itself, remain the subject of intense debate. This controversy is partly the result of understudying major components of the Himalayan orogen. At the eastern edge of the orogen, the paleogeography of the Burma Terrane (Myanmar) is particularly uncertain but key for solving the India-Asia collision puzzle. Therefore, this thesis presents a complete set of Late Cretaceous to Miocene paleomagnetic data from the Burma Terrane. With sedimentology and geochronology data, these results were incorporated into plate tectonic reconstructions to elucidate the paleogeographic history of the India-Asia collision from the perspective of the Burma Terrane. The three key implications are: (1) the Burma Terrane was in an equatorial position distant from Asia from the Cretaceous until the Paleogene, (2) it was incorporated onto the Indian Plate in the latest Paleocene – middle Eocene, and (3) it subsequently moved northward with India. This latitudinal displacement explains why the Burma Terrane does not record major compressional deformation before the late Oligocene – early Miocene. Yet, the sedimentary basins of Myanmar received erosional products from the collision zone already in the Eocene. By the Miocene, they record rapid exhumation of the Eastern Himalayan Syntaxis. The complete dataset is used to infer an India-Asia collision model with a Trans-Tethyan Arc, which comprises the Burma Terrane formed from Gondwanan crustal fragments. This model invites a critical re-evaluation of many aspects of the regional tectonic history, and has additional implications for Asian biotic and climatic evolution.
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Jan Westerweel. The India-Asia collision from the perspective of Myanmar : insights from paleomagnetism and paleogeographic reconstructions. Earth Sciences. Université Rennes 1, 2020. English. ⟨NNT : 2020REN1B036⟩. ⟨tel-03466299⟩

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