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Conglomerates record the tectonic evolution of the Yarlung–Tsangpo suture zone in southern Tibet

By
Aileen M. Davis
Aileen M. Davis
1
Tibet Research Group, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Hong Kong Hong Kong SAR, China davisaileen@hotmail.com
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Jonathan C. Aitchison
Jonathan C. Aitchison
1
Tibet Research Group, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Hong Kong Hong Kong SAR, China davisaileen@hotmail.com
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Badengzhu
Badengzhu
2
Tibetan Geological Survey Lhasa, Tibet, China
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Luo Hui
Luo Hui
3
Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Academia Sinica Nanjing, China
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Published:
January 01, 2004

Abstract

The histories of individual conglomeratic units along the Yarlung–Tsangpo (River) suture zone in southern Tibet reflect significant phases in the Mesozoic to Cenozoic tectonic evolution of this area. Several temporally distinct conglomerate units are recognized along the suture, and their detailed examination permits analysis of the collision between India and Asia.

Upper Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous conglomerates crop out within the Sangri Group along the southern Lhasa terrane. They are dominated by limestone and andesitic volcanic cobbles derived entirely from the Lhasa terrane. These rocks have experienced amphibolite facies metamorphism, and exhibit a strong penetrative regional foliation.

Thick successions of the Palaeocene Liuqu Conglomerate crop out within the suture from Xigaze to Lhaze. They contain detritus sourced from intra-oceanic terranes associated with the suture zone, as well as clasts of Indian affinity, while Lhasa and Xigaze terrane-derived material is notably absent. These conglomerates record an early suture zone event prior to India–Asia collision.

Uppermost Oligocene to Lower Miocene ‘Gangrinboche facies’ conglomerates crop out on the southern edge of the Lhasa terrane along the length of the suture. Several correlative units within this facies exhibit broadly similar stratigraphic histories. A basal depositional contact upon an eroded Lhasa terrane surface is ubiquitous with initial clast derivation from the north. Up-section, the first arrival of coarse-grained, suture-zone and India-derived clasts, is abrupt. These southerly derived clasts predominate by the top of most sections.

An areally restricted succession of gently dipping Late Neogene ultramafic breccias unconformably overlies folded Liuqu Conglomerate near Quanggong. Other Neogene sediments are extensive west of Mount Kailas. Deposition of coarse clastic sediments is presently continuing along the length of the Yarlung Tsangpo.

Discrimination and detailed investigation of each of these units will improve our understanding of the evolution of the India–Asia collision.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Aspects of the Tectonic Evolution of China

J. Malpas
J. Malpas
The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
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C. J. N. Fletcher
C. J. N. Fletcher
The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
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J. R. Ali
J. R. Ali
The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
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J. C. Aitchison
J. C. Aitchison
The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
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Geological Society of London
Volume
226
ISBN electronic:
9781862394742
Publication date:
January 01, 2004

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