2012-2016 Deep Structure of the Indian Continent
The structure and root of continents are still highly debated issues in Geosciences and the example of the Indian continent is emblematic in that respect. The present day configuration of the Indian tectonic plate is a consequence of its breakup from the Gondwana supercontinent possibly due to a large plume, about 130 Myr ago. Paleomagnetic data demonstrates that the Indian continent moved northwards from 65Myr at exceptionally high speeds (18-20cm/year) and subsequently slowed down to 4-5cm/year after its collision with Asia ≈40Myr ago. This super mobility was explained by an unusually thin Indian lithosphere (~100 km ; Kumar et al., 2007) in contradiction with the thick lithosphere that commonly underlies old cratonic nuclei. This proposal is primarily aimed at investigating the causative factors that determine the unique nature of the Indian continent, with emphasis on its origin, deformational history, interactions with Asia and its tectonic evolution, in order to constrain the thermal structure of the Indian shield lithosphere.