Abstract

The India-Asia collision zone in southern Tibet preserves a record of geodynamic and erosional processes following intercontinental collision. Apatite fission-track and zircon and apatite (U-Th)/He data from the Oligocene–Miocene Kailas Formation, within the India-Asia collision zone, show a synchronous cooling signal at 17 ± 1 Ma, which is younger than the ca. 26–21 Ma depositional age of the Kailas Formation, constrained by U-Pb and 40Ar/39Ar geochronology, and requires heating (burial) after ca. 21 Ma and subsequent rapid exhumation. Data from the Gangdese batholith underlying the Kailas Formation also indicate Miocene exhumation. The thermal history of the Kailas Formation is consistent with rapid subsidence during a short-lived phase of early Miocene extension followed by uplift and exhumation driven by rollback and northward underthrusting of the Indian plate, respectively. Significant removal of material from the India-Asia collision zone was likely facilitated by efficient incision of the paleo–Indus River and paleo–Yarlung River in response to drainage reorganization and/or intensification of the Asian monsoon.

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