Tectonic evolution of the Karakoram metamorphic complex (NW Himalayas) reflected in the 3D structures of spiral garnets: Insights from X-ray computed micro-tomography
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M. Sayab, D. Aerden, J. Kuva, W.U. Hassan, Tectonic evolution of the Karakoram metamorphic complex (NW Himalayas) reflected in the 3D structures of spiral garnets: Insights from X-ray computed micro-tomography, Geoscience Frontiers, Volume 12, Issue 3, 2021, 101113, ISSN 1674-9871, [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gsf.2020.11.010]
Spiral garnet porphyroblasts are known to record lengthy periods of deformation and metamorphism by preserving single or multiple FIAs (Foliation Intersection Axis) formed normal to tectonic shortening directions. Thanks to technological advances in X-ray computed micro-tomography (XCMT), FIAs can now be readily determined in relatively large samples in contrast to previous methods that require the preparation of a set of radial vertical and horizontal thin sections of samples. XCMT scanning not only alleviates tedious thin section based procedures but also illuminates the complete internal architecture of a rock sample allowing three-dimensional (3D) quantitative shape analysis of an individual porphyroblast as well as precise measurement of FIAs. We applied the technique to a sample from the Hunza Valley in the Karakoram metamorphic complex (KMC), NW Himalayas, containing numerous garnet porphyroblasts with spiral-shaped inclusion trails. The XCMT imaging reveals an E-Wtrending FIA within the sample, which is consistent with orthogonal N-S collision of the India-Kohistan Island Arc with Asia. Garnet long axes (X-GT) have variable plunges that define a broad sub-vertical maximumand a small sub-horizontalmaximum. The X-GT principle maxima lie at N-090 and N-120. Smaller maxima lie at N-020 and N- 340. Geometric relationships between X-GT axes and FIA orientation in the sample suggest that porphyroblast shapes are controlled by the geometry of the lens-shaped microlithons in which they tend to nucleate and grow. The orientation of inclusion trails and matrix foliations in the sample are correlated with three discrete tectono-metamorphic events that respectively produced andalusite, sillimanite and kyanite in the KMC. Late staurolite growth in the sample reveals howthe rocks extruded to the surface via a significant role of roll-on tectonics, which can be correlated with the Central Himalayas.