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Tectonic control of Yarlung Tsangpo Gorge revealed by a buried canyon in Southern Tibet

Wang, Ping and Scherler, Dirk and Liu-Zeng, Jing and Mey, Jürgen and Avouac, Jean-Philippe and Zhang, Yunda and Shi, Dingguo (2014) Tectonic control of Yarlung Tsangpo Gorge revealed by a buried canyon in Southern Tibet. Science, 346 (6212). pp. 978-981. ISSN 0036-8075. doi:10.1126/science.1259041.

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The Himalayan mountains are dissected by some of the deepest and most impressive gorges on Earth. Constraining the interplay between river incision and rock uplift is important for understanding tectonic deformation in this region. We report here the discovery of a deeply incised canyon of the Yarlung Tsangpo River, at the eastern end of the Himalaya, which is now buried under more than 500 meters of sediments. By reconstructing the former valley bottom and dating sediments at the base of the valley fill, we show that steepening of the Tsangpo Gorge started at about 2 million to 2.5 million years ago as a consequence of an increase in rock uplift rates. The high erosion rates within the gorge are therefore a direct consequence of rapid rock uplift.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle Materials
Scherler, Dirk0000-0003-3911-2803
Avouac, Jean-Philippe0000-0002-3060-8442
Additional Information:© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received for publication 22 July 2014. Accepted for publication 1 October 2014. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41372211 and 41172179) and the State Key Laboratory for Earthquake Dynamics (Project LED2013A07). D.S. was supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Data presented here are archived with the supplementary materials. We thank four anonymous reviewers whose comments improved this paper and B. Hallet for insightful discussions.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Natural Science Foundation of China41372211
National Natural Science Foundation of China41172179
State Key Laboratory for Earthquake DynamicsLED2013A07
Alexander von Humboldt FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:6212
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141002-110016774
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:50170
Deposited By: Joy Painter
Deposited On:20 Nov 2014 19:35
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 18:52

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