Publication Details

White, L. T., Ahmad, T., Lister, G. S. & Ireland, T. R. (2011). Where does India end and Eurasia begin?. G3: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems: an electronic journal of the earth sciences, 12 (10), 1-6.


The Indus Suture Zone is defined as the plate boundary between India and Eurasia. Here we document geochronological data that suggest that Indian rocks outcrop to the north of this suture zone. The inherited age spectrum of zircons from mylonitic gneiss collected in the southern part of the Karakorum Batholith is similar to those obtained from the Himalayan Terrane, the Pamir and is apparently Gondwanan in its affinity. These data are taken to indicate that the Karakorum Terrane was once a component of Gondwana, or at least derived from the erosion of Gondwanan material. Several continental ribbons (including the Karakorum Terrane) were rifted from the northern margin of Gondwana and accreted to Eurasia prior to India-Eurasia collision. Many therefore consider the Karakorum Terrane is the southern margin of Eurasia. However, we do not know if rifting led to the creation of a new microplate(s) or simply attenuated crust between Gondwana and these continental ribbons. Thus there is a problem using inherited and detrital age data to distinguish what is "Indian" and what is "Eurasian" crust. These findings have implications for other detrital/inherited zircon studies where these data are used to draw inferences about the tectonic history of various terranes around the world.



Link to publisher version (DOI)