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Mountain Building, Erosion, and the Seismic Cycle in the Nepal Himalaya

Avouac, Jean-Philippe (2003) Mountain Building, Erosion, and the Seismic Cycle in the Nepal Himalaya. In: Advances in Geophysics. Vol.46. Elsevier , San Diego, pp. 1-80. ISBN 0-12-018846-5.

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The Himalaya is the most impressive example on earth of an active collisional orogen. It combines rapid crustal shortening and thickening, intense denudation driven by the monsoon climate, and frequent very large earthquakes along an incomparably long and high mountain arc. It has therefore been the focus of a variety of investigations that have addressed various aspects of mountain building on various timescales. Geological and geophysical studies give some idea of the structure of the range and physical properties at depth. The long-term geological history of the range, over say several millions to a few tens of millions of years, has been documented by structural, thermo barometric, and thermo chronological studies. Morpho-tectonic investigations have revealed its evolution over several thousands or tens of thousands of years; and geodetic measurements and seismological monitoring have revealed the pattern of strain and stress built-up over several years. This chapter is an attempt to show that the results of these investigations can be assembled into a simple and coherent picture of the structure and evolution of the range. The author also intends to illustrate the interplay between these various processes operating at different timescales. One important example of processes that interact via feedback mechanisms is particularly clear in the Himalaya: the thermal structure of the range, which is a result of the long-term crustal deformation and pattern of exhumation, governs, through its influence on rheology, the pattern of deformation as well as the seismic behavior of the range-bounding thrust fault.

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Avouac, Jean-Philippe0000-0002-3060-8442
Additional Information:© 2003 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. Available online 26 April 2005. My understanding of the Himalayan orogen has greatly benefited from interactions and discussions with many former students, postdoc and colleagues in my group (Jérome Lavé, Laurent Bollinger, Rodolphe Cattin, Hugo Perfettini, S. Dominguez, Mireille Fouzat, Thierry Heritier, Frederic Perrier) as well as with my Nepali colleagues, M. R. Pandey and his collaborators from the Department of Mines and Geology.
Group:Caltech Tectonics Observatory, Caltech Tectonics Observatory. Indo-Asian Collision Zone, Seismological Laboratory
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110111-122753634
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Official Citation:Jean-Philippe Avouac, MOUNTAIN BUILDING, EROSION, AND THE SEISMIC CYCLE IN THE NEPAL HIMALAYA, Advances in Geophysics, Elsevier, 2003, Volume 46, Pages 1-80, ISSN 0065-2687, ISBN 9780120188468, DOI: 10.1016/S0065-2687(03)46001-9. (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:21706
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:27 Jan 2011 00:05
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 15:59

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