The tectonic and topographic history of the Himalaya-Tibet orogenic system remains controversial, with several competing models that predict different exhumation histories. Here, we present new low-temperature thermochronological data from the Mount Everest region, which, combined with thermal-kinematic landscape evolution modeling, indicate asymmetric exhumation of Mount Everest consistent with a scenario in which the southern edge of the Tibetan Plateau was located >100 km farther south during the mid-Miocene. Northward plateau retreat was caused by erosional incision during the Pliocene. Our results suggest that the South Tibetan Detachment was a localized structure and that no coupling between precipitation and erosion is required for Miocene exhumation of Greater Himalayan Sequence rocks on Mount Everest.

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