Organic carbon eroded and oxidized from marine sediments on the passive and active neo-Tethyan margins during the early Indian-Asian collision may have been sufficient to shift the carbon isotopic ratios of late Paleocene–early Eocene marine carbonates toward lighter values, and may have contributed to coeval global warming via the greenhouse effect. New limits on the timing of collision and the organic carbon content of Himalayan sedimentary sources and sinks allow us to estimate the net Paleogene flux. Our calculations suggest that continental collisions play a fundamental role in the global carbon cycle and climate through the exhumation as well as burial of organic carbon.

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