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Northern Lhasa thrust belt of central Tibet: Evidence of Cretaceous–early Cenozoic shortening within a passive roof thrust system?

By
John E. Volkmer
John E. Volkmer
Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA
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Paul Kapp
Paul Kapp
Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA
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Brian K. Horton
Brian K. Horton
Department of Geological Sciences and Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712, USA
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George E. Gehrels
George E. Gehrels
Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA
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Joseph M. Minervini
Joseph M. Minervini
Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA
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Lin Ding
Lin Ding
Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
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Published:
August 01, 2014

The Lhasa and Qiangtang terranes of Tibet collided following Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous consumption of oceanic lithosphere along the intervening Bangong suture zone. This continental collision led to the development of the south-directed, northern Lhasa thrust belt that is exposed ~1200 km along strike in central Tibet. We conducted geologic mapping and stratigraphic and geothermochronologic studies in the Duba region of the northern Lhasa terrane, located ~250 km northwest of the city of Lhasa. In the Duba region, granites were emplaced into the mid-crust between 139 and 121 Ma and subsequently exhumed and juxtaposed against Cretaceous strata between 105 and 90 Ma in the footwall of an interpreted passive roof thrust system. We suggest that this structural style dominates the Cretaceous–early Cenozoic evolution of the northern Lhasa thrust belt and provides an explanation for the scarcity of basement rock exposures in the Lhasa terrane despite >50% upper crustal shortening. Furthermore, we highlight similarities between the collision-related northern Lhasa and Tethyan Himalayan thrust belts, both of which are bound by sutures and associated with underthrusting of lower plate lithosphere.

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GSA Special Papers

Toward an Improved Understanding of Uplift Mechanisms and the Elevation History of the Tibetan Plateau

Junsheng Nie
Junsheng Nie
MOE Key Laboratory of Western China's Environmental Systems, Collaborative Innovation Centre for Arid Environments and Climate Change, Lanzhou University, 222 South Tianshui Road, Lanzhou, Gansu 730000, China
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Brian K. Horton
Brian K. Horton
Institute for Geophysics and Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712, USA
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Gregory D. Hoke
Gregory D. Hoke
Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York 13244, USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
507
ISBN print:
9780813725079
Publication date:
August 01, 2014

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