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The growth of northeastern Tibet and its relevance to large-scale continental geodynamics: A review of recent studies

Yuan, Dao-Yang and Ge, Wei-Peng and Chen, Zhen-Wei and Li, Chuan-You and Wang, Zhi-Cai and Zhang, Hui-Ping and Zhang, Pei-Zhen and Zheng, De-Wen and Zheng, Wen-Jun and Craddock, William H. and Dayem, Katherine E. and Duvall, Alison R. and Hough, Brian G. and Lease, Richard O. and Champagnac, Jean-Daniel and Burbank, Douglas W. and Clark, Marin K. and Farley, Kenneth A. and Garzione, Carmala N. and Kirby, Eric and Molnar, Peter and Roe, Gerard H. (2013) The growth of northeastern Tibet and its relevance to large-scale continental geodynamics: A review of recent studies. Tectonics, 32 (5). pp. 1358-1370. ISSN 0278-7407.

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Recent studies of the northeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau have called attention to two emerging views of how the Tibetan Plateau has grown. First, deformation in northern Tibet began essentially at the time of collision with India, not 10–20 Myr later as might be expected if the locus of activity migrated northward as India penetrated the rest of Eurasia. Thus, the north-south dimensions of the Tibetan Plateau were set mainly by differences in lithospheric strength, with strong lithosphere beneath India and the Tarim and Qaidam basins steadily encroaching on one another as the region between them, the present-day Tibetan Plateau, deformed, and its north-south dimension became narrower. Second, abundant evidence calls for acceleration of deformation, including the formation of new faults, in northeastern Tibet since ~15 Ma and a less precisely dated change in orientation of crustal shortening since ~20 Ma. This reorientation of crustal shortening and roughly concurrent outward growth of high terrain, which swings from NNE-SSW in northern Tibet to more NE-SW and even ENE-WSW in the easternmost part of northeastern Tibet, are likely to be, in part, a consequence of crustal thickening within the high Tibetan Plateau reaching a limit, and the locus of continued shortening then migrating to the northeastern and eastern flanks. These changes in rates and orientation also could result from removal of some or all mantle lithosphere and increased gravitational potential energy per unit area and from a weakening of crustal material so that it could flow in response to pressure gradients set by evolving differences in elevation.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Craddock, William H.0000-0002-4181-4735
Duvall, Alison R.0000-0002-7760-7236
Lease, Richard O.0000-0003-2582-8966
Champagnac, Jean-Daniel0000-0003-1963-2465
Burbank, Douglas W.0000-0001-8497-3296
Clark, Marin K.0000-0002-6141-8422
Farley, Kenneth A.0000-0002-7846-7546
Kirby, Eric0000-0002-5701-8688
Roe, Gerard H.0000-0001-5906-4779
Additional Information:© 2013 American Geophysical Union. Received 28 March 2013; revised 12 August 2013; accepted 12 September 2013; published 3 October 2013. We thank B. C. Burchfiel and P. G. DeCelles for constructive criticism of the manuscript. This research was supported by the National Science Foundation of the United States under grants EAR 0507730, 0506575, and 0549748; by the Public Service Funds for Earthquake Studies (201008003); by the State Key Laboratory of Earthquake Dynamics (LED2008A01); by the National Science Foundation of China under grants 40234040, 40872132, 40372086, and 41030317; and by the Swiss National Science Foundation under grant PBNE2-106764.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSFEAR 0507730
NSFEAR 0506575
NSFEAR 0549748
Public Service Funds for Earthquake Studies201008003
State Key Laboratory of Earthquake DynamicsLED2008A01
National Science Foundation of China40234040
National Science Foundation of China40872132
National Science Foundation of China40372086
National Science Foundation of China41030317
Swiss National Science FoundationPBNE2-106764
Subject Keywords:Tibet; continents; geodynamics
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131220-155301622
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Yuan, D.-Y., et al. (2013), The growth of northeastern Tibet and its relevance to large-scale continental geodynamics: A review of recent studies, Tectonics, 32, 1358–1370, doi:10.1002/tect.20081.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:43127
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:23 Dec 2013 15:45
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:18

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