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Widespread late Cenozoic increase in erosion rates across the interior of eastern Tibet constrained by detrital low-temperature thermochronometry

Duvall, Alison R. and Clark, Marin K. and Avdeev, Boris and Farley, Kenneth A. and Chen, Zhengwei (2012) Widespread late Cenozoic increase in erosion rates across the interior of eastern Tibet constrained by detrital low-temperature thermochronometry. Tectonics, 31 . Art. No. TC3014. ISSN 0278-7407.

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New detrital low-temperature thermochronometry provides estimates of long-term erosion rates and the timing of initiation of river incision from across the interior of the Tibetan Plateau. We use the erosion history of this region to evaluate proposed models of orogenic development as well as regional climatic events. Erosion histories of the externally drained portion of the east-central Tibetan Plateau are recorded in modern river sands from major rivers across a transect that spans >750 km and covers a region with no published thermochronometric ages. Individual grains from eight catchments were analyzed for apatite (U-Th)/He and fission track thermochronometry. A wide distribution in ages that, in most cases, spans the entire Cenozoic and Late Mesozoic eras requires a long period of slow or no erosion with a relative increase in erosion rate toward the present. We apply a recently developed methodology for inversion of detrital thermochronometric data for three specified erosion scenarios: constant erosion rate, two-stage erosion history, and three-stage erosion history. Modeling results suggest that rates increase by at least an order of magnitude between 11 and 4 Ma following a period of slow erosion across the studied catchments. Synchroneity in accelerated erosion across the whole of the Tibetan Plateau rather than a spatial or temporal progression challenges the widely held notion that the plateau evolved as a steep, northward-propagating topographic front, or that south to north precipitation gradients exert a primary control on erosion rates. Instead, we suggest that accelerated river incision late in the orogen's history relates to regional-scale uplift that occurred in concert with eastern expansion of the plateau.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Duvall, Alison R.0000-0002-7760-7236
Clark, Marin K.0000-0002-6141-8422
Farley, Kenneth A.0000-0002-7846-7546
Additional Information:© 2012 American Geophysical Union. Received 20 June 2011; accepted 26 April 2012; published 8 June 2012. Boris Avdeev passed away unexpectedly during the final copyediting stages of this manuscript. We recognize his full input to what is published here and wish to dedicate the paper to his memory. His intellectual creativity and adventurous spirit will always inspire us. This work was supported by the NSF grants EAR-0507431, EAR-0908711, EAR-0507788, and EAR-0810067; the National Science Foundation of China (40234040; and the State Key Laboratory of Earthquake Dynamics (LED2008A01). We thank Lindsay Hedges and William Amidon for assistance with sample analyses, John Bershaw and Pei-zhen Zhang for field support, and Nora Lewandowski and Joe Murphy for help with mineral separations. We thank Jim Spotila and Barbara Carrapa for thoughtful and constructive reviews. We also acknowledge Doug Burbank, Nathan Niemi, Eric Kirby, and Peter Molnar for thoughtful discussions about this work.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Natural Science Foundation of China40234040
State Key Laboratory of Earthquake DynamicsLED2008A01
Subject Keywords:Tibet; continental tectonics; detrital thermochronometry; erosion
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120711-131942804
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Official Citation:Duvall, A. R., M. K. Clark, B. Avdeev, K. A. Farley, and Z. Chen (2012), Widespread late Cenozoic increase in erosion rates across the interior of eastern Tibet constrained by detrital low-temperature thermochronometry, Tectonics, 31, TC3014, doi:10.1029/2011TC002969.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:32360
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:11 Jul 2012 21:25
Last Modified:21 Nov 2019 21:43

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