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  1. Abstract

    Documenting the processes that facilitate exhumation of ultrahigh‐pressure (UHP) rocks at convergent margins is critical for understanding orogen dynamics. Here, we present structural and temperature data from the Himalayan UHP Tso Morari nappe (TMN) and overlying nappes, which we integrate with published pressure‐temperature‐time constraints to refine interpretations for their structural evolution and exhumation history. Our data indicate that the 5.5‐km‐thick TMN is the upper portion of a penetratively deformed ductile slab, which was extruded via distributed, pure shear‐dominated, top‐down‐to‐east shearing. Strain in the TMN is recorded by high‐strength quartz fabrics (density norms between 1.74 and 2.86) and finite strain data that define 63% transport‐parallel lengthening and 46% transport‐normal shortening. The TMN attained peak temperatures of ~500–600°C, which decrease in the overlying Tetraogal and Mata nappes to ~150–300°C, defining a field gradient as steep as 67°C/km. Within the overlying nappes, quartz fabric strength decreases (density norms between 1.14 and 1.21) and transport‐parallel lengthening and transport‐normal shortening decrease to 14% and 18%, respectively. When combined with published40Ar/39Ar thermochronometry, quartz fabric deformation temperatures as low as ~330°C indicate that the top‐to‐east shearing that exhumed the TMN continued until ~30 Ma. Peak temperatures constrain the maximum depth of the overlying Mata nappe to 12.5–17.5 km; when combined with published fission‐track thermochronometry, this provides further support that the TMN was not underplated at upper crustal levels until ~30 Ma. The long‐duration, convergence‐subnormal shearing that exhumed the TMN outlasted rapid India‐Asia convergence by ~15 Myr and may be the consequence of strain partitioning during oblique convergence.

     
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  2. Abstract

    Mesozoic crustal shortening in the North American Cordillera’s hinterland was related to the construction of the Nevadaplano orogenic plateau. Petrologic and geochemical proxies in Cordilleran core complexes suggest substantial Late Cretaceous crustal thickening during plateau construction. In eastern Nevada, geobarometry from the Snake Range and Ruby Mountains-East Humboldt Range-Wood Hills-Pequop Mountains (REWP) core complexes suggests that the ~10–12 km thick Neoproterozoic-Triassic passive-margin sequence was buried to great depths (>30 km) during Mesozoic shortening and was later exhumed to the surface via high-magnitude Cenozoic extension. Deep regional burial is commonly reconciled with structural models involving cryptic thrust sheets, such as the hypothesized Windermere thrust in the REWP. We test the viability of deep thrust burial by examining the least-deformed part of the REWP in the Pequop Mountains. Observations include a compilation of new and published peak temperature estimates (n=60) spanning the Neoproterozoic-Triassic strata, documentation of critical field relationships that constrain deformation style and timing, and new 40Ar/39Ar ages. This evidence refutes models of deep regional thrust burial, including (1) recognition that most contractional structures in the Pequop Mountains formed in the Jurassic, not Cretaceous, and (2) peak temperature constraints and field relationships are inconsistent with deep burial. Jurassic deformation recorded here correlates with coeval structures spanning western Nevada to central Utah, which highlights that Middle-Late Jurassic shortening was significant in the Cordilleran hinterland. These observations challenge commonly held views for the Mesozoic-early Cenozoic evolution of the REWP and Cordilleran hinterland, including the timing of contractional strain, temporal evolution of plateau growth, and initial conditions for high-magnitude Cenozoic extension. The long-standing differences between peak-pressure estimates and field relationships in Nevadan core complexes may reflect tectonic overpressure.

     
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