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Early Cretaceous to present latitude of the central proto-Tibetan Plateau; a paleomagnetic synthesis with implications for Cenozoic tectonics, paleogeography, and climate of Asia

Peter C. Lippert, Douwe J. J. van Hinsbergen and Guillaume Dupont-Nivet
Early Cretaceous to present latitude of the central proto-Tibetan Plateau; a paleomagnetic synthesis with implications for Cenozoic tectonics, paleogeography, and climate of Asia (in Toward an improved understanding of uplift mechanisms and the elevation history of the Tibetan Plateau, Nie Junsheng (editor), Brian K. Horton (editor) and Gregory D. Hoke (editor))
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (August 2014) 507: 1-21

Abstract

Published paleomagnetic data from well-dated sedimentary rocks and lavas from the Lhasa terrane have been reevaluated in a statistically consistent framework to assess the latitude history of southern Tibet from ca. 110 Ma to the present. The resulting apparent polar wander path shows that the margin of the Lhasa terrane has remained at lat approximately 20 degrees + or - 4 degrees N from ca. 110 to at least 50 Ma and has drifted northward to its present latitude of 29 degrees N since the early Eocene. This latitude history provides a paleomagnetically determined collision age between the Tibetan Himalaya and the southern margin of Asia that is ca. 49.5 + or - 4.5 Ma, if not a few millions of years earlier after considering reasonable estimates for shortening within the suture zone. This collision occurred at lat approximately 21 degrees + or - 4 degrees N, or perhaps approximately 2 degrees lower if an average-size forearc is considered. These paleomagnetic data indicate that at most, only 1100 + or - 560 km of post-50 Ma India-Asia convergence was partitioned into Asian lithosphere. The lower bound of these paleomagnetic estimates is consistent with the magnitude of upper crustal shortening and thickening within Asia calculated from structural geologic studies. Thus, a substantial amount of the shortening within, and therefore surface uplift of, the Tibetan Plateau predates the Tibetan Himalaya-Lhasa collision. These conclusions suggest that the Tibetan Plateau is similar to the Altiplano of the Andes, in that most of the plateau developed at subtropical latitudes above an oceanic subduction zone in the absence of a continent-continent collision. A direct implication of these findings is that 1700 + or - 560 km or more post-50 Ma India-Asia convergence was partitioned into the lower plate of the orogenic system (i.e., units of Indian affinity). Recent paleomagnetic and plate tectonic analyses suggested significant extension of Greater India lithosphere after breakup from Gondwana but prior to collision with the southern margin of Asia. Cretaceous extension within Greater India was inferred to open an oceanic Greater India Basin, which would have maintained a deep tropical water mass along the southern edge of greater Asia throughout most of the Paleogene. We suggest ways in which future climate models can incorporate this paleogeography to more accurately explore how Paleogene atmospheric processes interact with or are modified by the juxtaposition of a tropical ocean basin and the high uniform topography of the Tibetan Plateau.


ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Coden: GSAPAZ
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 507
Title: Early Cretaceous to present latitude of the central proto-Tibetan Plateau; a paleomagnetic synthesis with implications for Cenozoic tectonics, paleogeography, and climate of Asia
Title: Toward an improved understanding of uplift mechanisms and the elevation history of the Tibetan Plateau
Author(s): Lippert, Peter C.van Hinsbergen, Douwe J. J.Dupont-Nivet, Guillaume
Author(s): Nie Junshengeditor
Author(s): Horton, Brian K.editor
Author(s): Hoke, Gregory D.editor
Affiliation: University of Arizona, Department of Geosciences, Tucson, AZ, United States
Affiliation: Lanzhou University, Collagorative Innovation Center for Arid Environments and Climate Change, Lanzhou, China
Pages: 1-21
Published: 201408
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
ISBN: 978-0-8137-2507-9
References: 159
Accession Number: 2014-076444
Categories: Solid-earth geophysicsStratigraphy
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: GSA Data Repository Item 2014216
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 2 tables, geol. sketch maps
N30°00'00" - N32°00'00", E82°00'00" - E90°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Texas, Austin, USA, United StatesSyracuse University, USA, United StatesUtrecht University, NLD, NetherlandsUniversite de Rennes 1, FRA, France
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201440
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