For more than two decades the slip rate along the active, left-slip Altyn Tagh fault of northwestern Tibet has been disputed, with millennial rates reported to be as much as three times faster than those determined geodetically. This problem is significant because the total offset, plate-boundary length, and age of the Altyn Tagh fault make it the most important single structure accommodating India-Asia convergence north of the Himalayas. Here we show that the central Altyn Tagh fault slipped at only 14–9 mm/a over the past 4–6 ka by tightly bracketing the age of a displaced fluvial terrace riser at Yuemake (88.51°E, 38.19°N). This result contradicts previous latest Quaternary rates and is consistent with those derived from geodetic, paleoseismic, and geologic measurements, and thus resolves the long-standing dispute over the latest Quaternary slip rate along the longest active strike-slip fault in Tibet.

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