Nepal's nature
Nepal's Geology
end NEPAL Visitor Guide HOME
Nepal Geology
Kali Gandaki Graben
Kali Gandaki Graben Deepest gorge on earth
Trekkings in Nepal
Kali Gandaki Graben

Regional topographic patterns, as well as the landforms developed along recently active faults, can provide important information about the deformation field in active orogenic systems.

Tectonic geomorphology includes the field mapping of geomorphic features, the systematic study of remote sensing data, and the application of various geochronologic techniques to establish constraints on the ages of young fault systems and the temporal evolution of topography.

Thak Khola

Recherchers from MIT have been applying these techniques in Nepal in order to gain a better appreciation for the neotectonic evolution of the central Himalaya.

The study area is in north-central Nepal, where a major NE-SW rift - the Thak Khola Graben - trends directly into a trace of the South Tibetan fault system .

The principal growth fault of the graben is a steeply east-dipping structure referred to as the Dangardzong fault (DF on the map at right). This structure is marked along much of its length by a spectacular topographic escarpment that is one of the most conspicuous Himalayan landforms on space imagery.

The Kali Gandaki Graben hosts the upper reaches of the Kali Gandaki River, one of the few drainage systems that flows from the Tibetan plateau, across the Himalayan divide, and southward into the Indo-Gangetic foreland.

Bedrock uplift and river incision have produced extremely good, three-dimensional exposures of the Late Miocene-Quaternary sedimentary fill in the rift basin. A series of cut-fill terrace surfaces have developed on the graben fill as a consequence of episodic changes in the Kali Gandaki baselevel. Most of these surfaces are marked by surface mantle deposits, and the 14C dating of these (using both accelerator mass spectrometry and conventional techniques) permits to use the terraces as time markers for exploring the neotectonic evolution of the graben.

Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, März 2003
Nepal's Geology and Earthquakes
April 2015 A M 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal

Fault segments labeled DSWF (Dhaulagiri southwest fault) and STF are detachments of the South Tibetan fault system. KSZ (Kalopani shear zone) and MKSZ (Modi Khola shear zone) are reverse-sense structures, also part of the South Tibetan system.

Detailed mapping along the trace of the Dangardzong "fault" yielded ample evidence for Quaternary oblique-slip along an array of discontinuous fault segments ranging from a few meters to kilometers in trace length. In addition to a large cumulative component of normal-sense displacement, these structures also accommodated significant component of right-lateral displacement as illustrated by offset of the slot canyons of tributaries of the Kali Gandaki draining eastward across the escarpment.

Dhaulagiri and Tukuche Peak
more information and pictures
Nepal Trekkings: Trekking Profiles
Trekking Programmes
Nepal Rolwaling - Khumbu
Glaciers in Nepal Photo Gallery
Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas Himalayas in Nepal: Mountain Peaks
Nepal Around Annapurnas Trekking
Bhutan Flight over the Himalayas
Nepal Himalayas: Air view
Nepal: Foot hill zone Photos
Topography: Cross-section of Nepal
Nepal: Physiographic Division
External link
Massachusetts Institute of Technology USA
back NEPAL Visitor Guide HOME