As the highest mountain range in the world, the Himalayas and the nearby Tibetan Plateau have fascinated earth scientists for centuries. The Himalayan-Tibetan Continental Lithosphere during Mountain Building (Hi-CLIMB) project and several earlier PASSCAL-enabled experiments in Tibet, carried out with significant local support and in scientific collaboration with various Chinese institutions, have provided new insights into the regional lithospheric structure and modes of deformation.
These studies, along with geodetic and geologic data, have shown that the mountain-building deformation front has moved southward as Indian crust is transferred to the overriding plate. Underthrusting is now known to continue beneath southern Tibet at least up to the south Lhasa block, but its northern limit and geometry remain
uncertain. Hi-CLIMB included a closely spaced, 800-km-long linear array of broadband PASSCAL seismometers extending northward from the Ganges Basin, across the Himalayas, the Yarlung Tsangpo suture, and the Banggong-Nujiang suture to central Tibet. Migrated receiver functions from different subsets of the Hi-CLIMB linear array data show that the lower part of the Indian lithosphere underplates the Himalayas and Tibet up to 31°N and that the Moho beneath Tibet is anisotropic, indicating shearing during its formation. The dipping mantle fabric suggests that the Indian mantle is subducting diffusely along several evolving subparallel structures. (From Nabelek et al., 2009. Underplating in the Himalaya-Tibet collision zone revealed by the Hi-CLIMB experiment. Science, doi:0.1126/ science.1167719. Reprinted with permission from AAAS.)</p>


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