Distal Bengal Fan
Three sites (Site 717 to Site 719) were drilled during Leg 116 to investigate the geological
phenomena associated with the collision of India with Eurasia, 3,000 km to the north in the
Himalayan Mountains. Continental collision began in the Eocene with "soft" collision, possibly
between continental India and an island arc seaward of Asia, causing rapid terrigenous
sedimentation on the incipient Bengal Fan. The "hard" continent-continent collision began later,
resulting in the first main uplift of the Himalayas. Increased resistance to shortening across the
Himalayas and continued seafloor spreading at the Southeast Indian Ridge places the Indian-Australian Plate under severe compressive stress and the oceanic crust and overlying sediments are
deformed into east-west trending, long-wavelength undulations. Locally, deformation is occurring
on high-angle faults, 5 to 20 km apart, that form a series of fault blocks; movement along these
blocks has significantly affected local sedimentation. Growth of the Bengal Fan has continued to the
present, producing the worldÍs largest submarine fan, nearly 3,000,000 km2.
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