Continent-continent collision zones can contain giant mineral deposits. However, the formation and distribution of ore deposits related to such collision zone are less understood compared with the Andean-style accretionary orogens. The Tibetan-Himalayan belt and its continuation into the Alpine-Tethyan orogenic belt of Pakistan and Iran is the youngest and the most extensive continental collision belt on the planet. This belt contains a variety of geologically young, world-class mineral deposits, which formed in what are relatively clear geodynamic settings. It can, therefore, be regarded as the best natural laboratory on Earth for studying collisional orogeny and formation of related ore deposits.
To accomplish the main objective, it is proposed to carry out large-scale syntheses of ore deposits in the Tibetan-Himalayan and Alpine-Tethyan orogenic belts, including comparative studies of key mineral deposits and their host terranes. A main focus of the project is to identify the primary controls on the location, geometry and genesis of ore formation in some of the youngest parts of these belts, where tectonic events can be most easily defined.
This project will propose a new conceptual framework for ore formation in continental collision belts and will provide useful tools and concepts for the exploration for new mineral resources in geologically similar, but older, collisional belts elsewhere in the world. This study will bring together world experts from several countries to work together to build a better understanding of ore-forming processes in a large geographical region with a challenging political diversity.