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Early Cenozoic faulting of the northern Tibetan Plateau margin from apatite (U–Th)/He ages

Clark, Marin K. and Farley, Kenneth A. and Zheng, Dewen and Wang, Zhicai and Duvall, Alison R. (2010) Early Cenozoic faulting of the northern Tibetan Plateau margin from apatite (U–Th)/He ages. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 296 (1-2). pp. 78-88. ISSN 0012-821X.

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Models to explain the distributed nature of continental deformation predict the propagation of strain and high topography away from the plate boundary. Yet a growing body of evidence in the Tibetan orogen suggests that deformation occurred at the far northern extent of the modern plateau early in the orogen's history and thus our current mechanical understanding of orogenic plateau development is incomplete. New apatite (U–Th)/He ages from four elevation transects document periods of rapid exhumation related to erosion pulses in hanging wall rocks of major thrust structures. Accelerated erosion is used as a proxy of fault timing, and is interpreted in a larger context of structural data and sediment accumulation in adjacent foreland basins. Helium results are synthesized with published geologic, thermochronometric, and sedimentologic data from which a growing picture of regional compressional deformation in Middle to Late Eocene time in northern Tibet emerges. We relate the early Cenozoic period of deformation to the initiation of collision between India and Eurasia, despite the fact that the plate boundary was located > 3000 km to the south. Regardless of whether or not high topography was built simultaneously as a result of this deformation, early Cenozoic strain signifies that the modern limit of the orogen has been relatively stationary since continental collision began and that deformation has not significantly propagated farther away from the plate boundary in time.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle
Clark, Marin K.0000-0002-6141-8422
Farley, Kenneth A.0000-0002-7846-7546
Duvall, Alison R.0000-0002-7760-7236
Additional Information:© 2010 Elsevier B.V. Received 3 July 2009; revised 28 April 2010; accepted 30 April 2010. Editor: R.D. van der Hilst. Available online 8 June 2010. This work was supported by NSF grants EAR-0507431 (Clark) and EAR-0507788 (Farley), Texaco Prize Postdoctoral Fellowship to Clark and National Science Foundation of China (40234040, 40772127) and by State Key Laboratory of Earthquake Dynamics (LED2008A01) (Zheng and Wang). We thank Lindsey Hedges for sample preparation and analyses; Carmala Garzione, Eric Kirby, Peter Molnar, Gerard Roe and Dao-Yang Yuan for field assistance; Doug Burbank and Peter Molnar for comments; and Todd Ehlers for discussion of sedimentary basin thermal gradients. An anonymous reviewer provided valuable feedback that improved the clarity of the manuscript.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Texaco Prize Postdoctoral FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
National Science Foundation of China40234040
National Science Foundation of China40772127
State Key Laboratory of Earthquake DynamicsLED2008A01
Subject Keywords:Tibet; Asia; low-temperature thermochronometry; (U-Th)/He dating; faulting; Indo-Asian collision
Issue or Number:1-2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100805-093833242
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:19290
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:05 Aug 2010 17:10
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:18

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