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Episodes 2020; 43(1): 335-345

Published online March 1, 2020


Copyright © International Union of Geological Sciences.

Linking the Kangra piggy–back Basin with reactivation of the Jawalamukhi Thrust and erosion of Dhauladhar Range, Northwest Himalaya

Vikram C. Thakur1 +, M. Joshi2, N. Suresh1

1Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, 33 GMS Road, Dehradun 248001, Uttarakhand, India; +Email: thakurvc12@gmail.com
2G. B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Sustainable Development, Sikkim Regional Center, Pangthang, Gangtok 737101, Sikkim, India;

Correspondence to:Email: thakurvc12@gmail.com

Received: August 19, 2018; Revised: May 23, 2019; Accepted: May 23, 2019

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A dynamic coupling between climate-induced erosion and tectonics is envisaged for the growth of the Himalaya. The Dhauladhar Range (NW Himalaya), between the Beas and Ravi rivers, shows large altitude variation along the regional trend from southeast to northwest. The altitude rises between 5000 m and 4000 m in the eastern part and decreases between <4000 m and 2800 m in the western part. Eastern part of the Range is characterized with focused and highest precipitation, concentration of microseismicity and the formation of Kangra Basin to its south; whereas all these features are lacking in the western part. The Kangra Basin is a post–Siwalik intermontane basin between the Dhauladhar Range in the north and the Siwalik Range in the south. The basin-fill is essentially derived from the southern flank of the Dhauladhar Range as a consequence of erosion due to deglaciation. The Kangra Basin is developed as a piggy–back basin over the hanging wall of the foreland propagating Jawalamukhi Thrust (JT). The Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating of fluvial strath terrace surfaces, across the hanging wall, indicate late Quaternary reactivation of the JT. The Kangra Basin sediments yield late Quaternary OSL ages similar to that of the strath terraces. This suggests that formation of the Kangra Basin is synchronous with reactivation of the JT, implying a linkage among formation of the Kangra Basin, its filling through erosion of the Dhauladhar Range and reactivation of the Jawalamukhi Thrust.