THE Himalaya and adjacent Tibetan plateau, constituting Earth's largest region of elevated topography and anomalously thick crust, formed as a consequence of Cenozoic collision between India and Asia—itself considered the archetypal continent–continent collision1–3. Here we report the first results from an attempt to image the structure of the crust beneath this region using deep seismic reflection profiling. Our ∼100-km-long profile, acquired in the Tethyan Himalaya, shows a mid-crustal reflection that prob-ably marks the active thrust fault along which the Indian plate is underthrusting southern Tibet; upper-crustal reflections with geo-metries suggestive of large-scale structural imbrication of the upper crust; and Moho reflections from the base of the double-normal-thickness crust underlying the region. These results lend substantial support to the view that crustal thickening beneath southernmost Tibet was accomplished by wholesale underthrusting of Indian continental crust beneath the structurally imbricated upper crust comprising the Tethyan Himalaya.
Your institute does not have access to this article
Open Access articles citing this article.
Nature Communications Open Access 06 June 2022
Scientific Reports Open Access 21 July 2021
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Argand, E. in La tectonique de I'Asie, Proc. 13th Int. Geol. Congr. Brussels Vol. 7, 171–372 (1924).
Dewey, J. & Burke, K. J. Geol. 81, 683–692 (1973).
Molnar, P. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A326, 33–88 (1988).
Mercier, J., Armigo, R., Tapponnier, P., Carey-Gailhardis, E. & Tong Lin, H. Tectonics 6, 275–304 (1987).
Gansser, A. Geology of the Himalayas (Wiley-lnterscience, London, 1964).
Burg, J. P. thesis, Montpellier Univ. (1983).
Burchfiel, B. C. et al. Geol. Soc. Am. Spec. Pap. No. 269 (Geol. Soc. Am., Boulder, 1992).
Chen, C. et al. Science 250, 1552–1556 (1990).
Ni, J. & Barazangi, M. J. geophys. Res. 89, 1147–1163 (1984).
Hirn, A. et al. Nature 307, 23–25 (1984).
Schelling, D. Tectonics 11, 925–943 (1992).
Schelling, D. & Arita, K. Tectonics 10, 851–862 (1991).
Dewey, J. F., Shackleton, R. M., Chengfa, C. & YiYin, S. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A327, 379–413 (1988).
Qureshy, M. N. & Midha, R. K. Am. Geophys. Un. Geodynamics Ser. 14, 77–94 (1986).
Lyon-Caen, H. & Molnar, P. J. geophys. Res. 88, 8171–8192 (1983).
Hirn, A. et al. Nature 307, 25–27 (1984).
About this article
Cite this article
Zhao, W., Nelson, K., Che, J. et al. Deep seismic reflection evidence for continental underthrusting beneath southern Tibet. Nature 366, 557–559 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1038/366557a0
Nature Communications (2022)
The structure and subduction relicts of the Changchun–Yanji suture, NE China: new evidence from deep seismic reflection profiling
International Journal of Earth Sciences (2022)
Scientific Reports (2021)
Journal of the Geological Society of India (2021)
Natural Hazards (2021)