The Himalayan–Tibetan orogen is commonly considered as the type orogen for continent-continent collisional systems and a natural laboratory to study the dynamics of continental collisions. Understanding the processes and chronology of the build-up of the Tibetan-Himalayan orogen is fundamental because they control the shape and properties of an area spanning from Pakistan to Thailand that today includes some of the most extensive plateaus, mountain ranges, basins, and fault systems on Earth. These processes ultimately define regional topography, climate, seismic activity, and some the most significant interactions life on Earth has with the Earth itself.
Noticeably, an enormous spatial gap has been left in our understanding of the convergence. Our seeming vast knowledge of the Himalayan-Tibetan orogen comes from decades of work along the approximately west-east trending arcuate strike of the orogen in NW India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet covering ~2600 km of this vast orogen. Additional ~1400 km of the orogen trending north-south in Myanmar has been under represented in our efforts to document Asian topographic and tectonic evolution. This gap, once filled, will allow us to the test existing models for evolution of the Himalayan-Tibetan orogen with greater fidelity and eventually develop a general model for the geodynamic evolution of Asia.
The work of the MyaPGR group in Myanmar aims to fill this gap. We study the structural, volcanic and paleogeographic evolution of Myanmar over the hundred of million years. Our approaches include (1) paleogeographic reconstructions via rock paleomagnetism; (2) dating, petrographic and geochemical characterization of magmatic rocks; (3) uplift reconstruction via low-temperature chronology and sedimentary provenance study.