Abstract

In Gobi Altay and Altay, Mongolia, several flat surfaces, worn through basement rocks and uplifted during the ongoing tectonic episode to a similar altitude of 4000 m, suggests disruption of a single large-scale surface. New thermochronology and field data show that the plateau surfaces represent uplifted parts of an ancient peneplain that formed during Jurassic time. The Gobi Altay and Altay flattopped massifs are tectonically and geomorphologically unique. Their preservation for ∼150 m.y. implies that no further tectonic movements occurred before the onset of the last deformation episode, 5 ± 3 m.y. ago. It also suggests that very low erosion rates were maintained by a dry climate over millions of years.

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