Abstract

The Taiwan orogenic belt is often treated as a steady, southward-propagating orogenic system with an essentially constant erosion rate of 4–6 mm/yr over the past 5 m.y. We present 4 new age-elevation transects from the Central Range based on 19 new and 86 previously published fission track and (U-Th)/He dates of completely reset detrital zircon and apatite grains. The age-elevation curves and thermal models imply slow cooling prior to ca. 2–1.5 Ma (at exhumation rates of ∼0.1 mm/yr), an increase in exhumation rates from ca. 2–1.5 Ma to ca. 0.5 Ma (2–4 mm/yr), and possibly a further acceleration in exhumation from ca. 0.5 Ma to present (4–8 mm/yr). Three transects from three different latitudes in the eastern Central Range yield similar results, each showing punctuated exhumation with progressively faster rates.

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