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  Project INDEPTH (International DEep Profiling of Tibet and the Himalaya)
Category: Geological Research
Year: 1990 onwards
Location: Tibet
Organisation: Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Cornell University - Department of Geological Sciences and other universities

Project INDEPTH, had pioneered the use of deep seismic reflection profiling for geophysical and geological studies designed to develop a better understanding of the geological structures and tectonic movements of the Himalaya-Tibet region.


During Phase I of the project (summer of 1992) carried out in the summer of 1992, INDEPTH was successful in identifying and tracing the principal fault (Main Himalaya Thrust, or MHT) and detecting the deepest Moho yet imaged by CMP-type seismic profiling. Phase II (1994 and 1995) involved an expanded program of active and passive seismic surveys as well as new geological field mapping and magneto-telluric sounding that revealed "bright spots" suggestive of active magma accumulation and extensive presence of fluids in the upper middle crust. Phase III was intended to provide essential information on the structure of the lithosphere beneath the Tibetan Plateau, quantify the magnitude of lithospheric shortening at depth, the extent of melting and its role in shortening and uplift.


Deep seismic reflection data collected during the project across the southern Lhasa terrain of the Tibetan plateau provided new details regarding crustal deformation during plateau evolution. Deep seismic reflection profiles south of the Indus-Tsangpo Suture Zone (ITSZ) revealed major crustal structures beneath the Tethyan Himalaya associated with the tectonic collision.


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