Recent investigations in southern Tibet enable the testing and refinement of existing models for India–Asia collision. Presently available data indicate that marine deposition continued in the southern central portion of Tibet until at least the end of the Eocene. Sub-duction-related magmatism continued until the Mid-Oligocene, after which rapid uplift of the plateau was initiated. Mass-wasting of sediments into molasse basins did not commence until the latest Oligocene. The implications are that existing models, based on less-precise age constraints, invoking India–Asia collision at 55 Ma, are either flawed, or collision began at a different time. Recent work has produced sufficient data to allow the recognition of two different collisional events along the suture between India and Asia. Features related to each event require separate interpretation, and no collisional continuum should be assumed. In southern Tibet, a collision between the northern margin of India and a southfacing intra-oceanic island arc occurred at around 55 Ma, whereas continent–continent collision between India and Asia did not occur until at least 20 million years later.
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Aspects of the Tectonic Evolution of China
The subject of this Special Publication is one of the most interesting in global geoscience, the tectonic evolution of China. The assemblage of terranes that underlie this part of the world provides outstanding opportunities to elucidate global processes, and many of the factors that shape the Earth's lithosphere are best exemplified by the geology of China and its immediately adjacent areas
In addition, there are geological features that are particular and unique to the region. Some have been the focus of recent attention and have attracted international interest because of their global importance. This volume provides accounts of up-to-date research by Chinese and international geological teams on key aspects of the tectonic evolution of China and its surrounding areas. The papers describe the formation of the geological terranes that make up this part of east Asia, place constraints on plate tectonic models for their assembly and provide accounts of unique geological feature of the subcontinent.