Geochemical and isotopic constraints on the age and origin of the Nidar Ophiolitic Complex, Ladakh, India: implications for the Neo-Tethyan subduction along the Indus suture zone

Ahmad, T. ; Tanaka, T. ; Sachan, H. K. ; Asahara, Y. ; Islam, R. ; Khanna, P. P. (2008) Geochemical and isotopic constraints on the age and origin of the Nidar Ophiolitic Complex, Ladakh, India: implications for the Neo-Tethyan subduction along the Indus suture zone Tectonophysics, 451 (1-4). pp. 206-224. ISSN 0040-1951

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The Nidar ophiolite complex is exposed within the Indus suture zone in eastern Ladakh, India. The suture zone is considered to represent remnant Neo-Tethyan Ocean that closed via subduction as the Indian plate moved northward with respect to the Asian plate. The two plates ultimately collided during the Middle Eocene. The Nidar ophiolite complex comprises a sequence of ultra-mafic rocks at the base, gabbroic rocks in the middle and volcano-sedimentary assemblage on the top. Earlier studies considered the Nidar ophiolite complex to represent an oceanic floor sequence based on lithological assemblage. However, present study, based on new mineral and whole rock geochemical and isotopic data (on bulk rocks and mineral separates) indicate their generation and emplacement in an intra-oceanic subduction environment. The plutonic and volcanic rocks have nearly flat to slightly depleted rare earth element (REE) patterns. The gabbroic rocks, in particular, show strong positive Sr and Eu anomalies in their REE and spidergram patterns, probably indicating plagioclase accumulation. Depletion in high field strength elements (HFSE) in the spidergram patterns may be related to stabilization of phases retaining the HFSE in the subducting slab and / or fractional crystallization of titano-magnetite phases. The high radiogenic Nd- and low radiogenic Sr-isotopic ratios for these rocks exclude any influence of continental material in their genesis, implying an intra-oceanic environment. Nine point mineral-whole rock Sm-Nd isochron corresponds to an age of 140 ± 32 Ma with an initial 143Nd/144Nd of 0.513835 ± 0.000053 (ENd t = + 7.4). This age is consistent with the precise Early Cretaceous age of Hauterivian (132 ± 2 to 127 ± 1.6 Ma) to Aptian (121 ± 1.4 to 112 ± 1.1 Ma) for the overlying volcano-sedimentary (radiolarian bearing chert) sequences based on well-preserved radiolarian fossils (Kojima, S., Ahmad, T., Tanaka, T., Bagati, T.N., Mishra, M., Kumar, R. Islam, R., Khanna, P.P., 2001. Early Cretaceous radiolarians from the Indus suture zone, Ladakh, northern India. In: News of Osaka Micropaleontologists (NOM), Spec. Vol., 12, 257-270.) and cooling ages of 110-130 Ma based on 39Ar/40Ar for Nidar-Spontang ophiolitic rocks (Mahéo, G., Berttrand, H., Guillot, S., Villa, I. M., Keller, F., Capiez, P., 2004. The South Ladakh Ophiolites (NW Himalaya, India): an intra-oceanic tholeiitic arc origin with implications for the closure of the Neo-Tethys. Chem. Geol., 203, 273-303.). As these gabbroic and volcanic rocks are interpreted to be arc related, the new Sm-Nd age data may indicate that intra-ocean subduction in the Neo-Tethyan ocean may have started much before ~140 ± 32 Ma as this date is interpreted as the age of crystallization of the arc magma. Present and published age data on the arc magmatic rocks from the Indus suture zone may collectively indicate episodic magmatism with increasing maturity of the arc from more basic (during ~140 ± 32 Ma) when the arc was immature through intermediate (andesitic/granodioritic) at ~100 Ma to more felsic (rhyolitic/dioritic) magmatism at ~50-45 Ma, when the Indian and the Asian plates collided.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to Elsevier Science.
Keywords:Ophiolite; Indus Suture Zone; Subduction; Collision; Magmatism
ID Code:279
Deposited On:20 Sep 2010 08:13
Last Modified:10 May 2011 08:48

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