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We report paleomagnetic data from the northeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau to help understand the timing and distribution of deformation (i.e., vertical-axis rotations) during the India-Asia collision. Paleomagnetic results throughout Xining Basin strata, recently dated using magnetostratigraphy to between 52 and 17 Ma, show that some 25° of clockwise rotation with respect to the stable Eurasian continent occurred at ca. 41 Ma. In view of a regional compilation of existing paleomagnetic data from the northeastern Tibetan Plateau, these results suggest that this region experienced clockwise rotations in the regional Paleocene-Miocene basin system, including rotation in the Xining Basin, ca. 41 Ma, thus establishing the existence of widespread deformation at this time. During a mid-Miocene phase, between 17 and 11 Ma, clockwise rotations were restricted to the Miocene-Quaternary basin system, implying that the Laji Shan thrust belt, which separates the two basin systems, was active during this time interval.

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