Geodetically derived velocities from Central Asia show that Northern Afghanistan, the Tajik Pamir, and northwestern Pakistan all move northward with comparable large velocities toward Eurasia. Steep velocity gradients, hence high strain rates, occur only across the Main Pamir Fault zone and with lesser magnitude between the northernmost Hindu Kush and the south and southeast margins of the Tajik Depression. Localized shortening is not apparent on any active India-Hindu Kush crustal boundary; hence, crustal convergence between India and Eurasia in Central Asia is absorbed primarily on the northern and western margins of the Pamir. This concentrated strain on the Pamir margins is consistent with one, geometrically complex, interface between subducting Asian lithosphere and the Pamir. That interface might curve westward such that the Hindu Kush seismic zone is a continuation of the Pamir seismic zone, or alternatively, Hindu Kush earthquakes might occur in convectively unstable mantle lithosphere mechanically detached from surface faults.
- Hindu Kush
- continental collision