Neogene Kinematics of the Potwar Plateau and the Salt Range, NW Himalayan Front: A Paleostress Inversion and AMS study

Qayyum A., Poesse J. W., KAYMAKCI N., Langereis C. G., Gülyüz E., Ahsan N.

INTERNATIONAL GEOLOGY REVIEW, vol.64, pp.1311-1329, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 64
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/00206814.2021.1929514
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), Geobase, INSPEC, Pollution Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.1311-1329
  • Keywords: Kinematics, paleostress inversion, Anisotropy of Magnetic Susceptibility (AMS), potwar plateau, salt range, FAULT-SLIP DATA, MAGNETIC-SUSCEPTIBILITY, STRESS TENSOR, NORTHERN PAKISTAN, ACTIVE TECTONICS, THRUST BELTS, MICROTECTONICS, POPULATIONS, ANISOTROPY, BASIN
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


We provide new kinematic data from the Potwar Plateau (Pakistan) to evaluate the tectonic evolution of the region during the Neogene. The plateau is bound by two major strike-slip faults in the west and the east, accommodating its southwards translation. We have recognized two Neogene deformation phases in the plateau, based on paleostress inversion and Anisotropy of Magnetic Susceptibility (AMS) tensors. The first phase lasted until the early Pliocene and was characterized by vertical minor stress and N-S compression, implying thrust tectonics. The second deformation phase is characterized by a near-vertical intermediate principal stress and near-horizontal major and minor stresses, interpreted to be associated with strike-slip tectonics since the late Pliocene. K-int vectors from 21 sites are relatively compatible with the major principal stress orientations (sigma(1)) and indicate two distinct domains. This is possibly because K-min orientations are related to compaction, whereas K-int orientations were always parallel to tectonic shortening and hence compression direction during both strike-slip (post-late Pliocene) and thrusting (pre-late Pliocene) phases. These phases are characterized by swapping of (sigma(2)) and (sigma(3)) orientations while (sigma(1)) maintained its orientation. The most prominent change occurs at the western part of the Potwar Plateau, where major principal stress directions (sigma(1)) and K-int axes fan out south-westwards. The eastern domain is dominated by NE-SW trending folds and thrust faults, which are absent in the western domain. These structural features are interpreted to be the result of the distribution of deposits of the Neoproterozoic Salt Range Formation as a substratum below the Potwar Plateau. The Salt Range Formation is very thick and widespread in the west area and almost absent in the east. This factor led to unconstrained southwards gliding of the Potwar Plateau over the salt deposits in the west as opposed to frictional sliding and substantial internal deformation in the east.