The strikes of late Cenozoic normal faults in Tibet fan systematically from a northwesterly to northeasterly direction from west to east. They exhibit an axis of symmetry that bisects the Himalayan arc and trends subparallel to India-Asia motion. The two-dimensional stress field inferred from the spatial pattern of normal-fault orientations can be explained solely by collisional stresses localized along a southern part of the Himalayan arc. Continued insertion of Indian crust into Tibet can explain the persistence of extension and may be increasing plateau crustal thickness and elevation coeval with rifting.

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