Abstract

Structural patterns, global positioning system (GPS) velocities, and Quaternary fault slip rates in northeastern Tibet indicate a transfer of left-lateral slip from the Kunlun fault northeast to the Haiyuan fault and minor crustal shortening and rotation within a 200-km-wide stepover zone. Related deformation also continues at least a few hundred kilometers north of the Haiyuan fault into a region of diffuse extensional(?) shear or rotation underlain by average thickness crust. Fast, localized slip along the central Kunlun fault transforms into distributed deformation across a 500-km-wide zone where the lower crust is weak. The distribution of fault-parallel GPS velocities across this region suggests a decrease in fault slip toward eastern fault tips and progressive dissipation of slip to the north rather than east of the Tibetan Plateau as previously suggested.

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