Abstract

The Mesozoic plate tectonic history of Gondwana-derived crustal blocks of the Tibetan Plateau is hotly debated, but so far, paleomagnetic constraints quantifying their paleolatitude drift history remain sparse. Here, we compile existing data published mainly in Chinese literature and provide a new, high-quality, well-dated paleomagnetic pole from the ca. 180 Ma Sangri Group volcanic rocks of the Lhasa terrane that yields a paleolatitude of 3.7°S ± 3.4°. This new pole confirms a trend in the data that suggests that Lhasa drifted away from Gondwana in Late Triassic time, instead of Permian time as widely perceived. A total northward drift of ∼4500 km between ca. 220 and ca. 130 Ma yields an average south-north plate motion rate of 5 cm/yr. Our results are consistent with either an Indian or an Australian provenance of Lhasa.

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