Constraining the growth of the Tibetan Plateau in time and space is critical for testing geodynamic models and climatic changes at the regional and global scale. The Lhasa block is a key region for unraveling the early history of the Tibetan Plateau. Distinct from the underlying shallow-marine limestones, the Jingzhushan and Daxiong formations consist of conglomerate and sandstone deposited in alluvial-fan and braided-river systems. Both units were deposited at ca. 92 Ma, as constrained by interbedded tuff layers, detrital zircons, and micropaleontological data. Provenance and paleocurrent analyses indicate that both units were derived from the same elevated source area located in the central-northern Lhasa block. These two parallel belts of coeval conglomerates record a major change in paleogeography of the source region from a shallow seaway to a continental highland, implying initial topographic growth of an area over 160,000 km2, named here the Northern Lhasaplano. The early Late Cretaceous topographic growth of the Northern Lhasaplano was associated with the demise of Tethyan seaways, thrust-belt development, and crustal thickening. The same paleogeographic and paleotectonic changes were recorded earlier in the Northern Lhasaplano than in the Southern Lhasaplano, indicating progressive topographic growth from north to south across the Bangong-Nujiang suture and Lhasa block during the Cretaceous. Similar to the Central Andean Plateau, the Northern Lhasaplano developed by plate convergence above the oceanic Neo-Tethyan subduction zone before the onset of the India-Asia collision.
Initial growth of the Northern Lhasaplano, Tibetan Plateau in the early Late Cretaceous (ca. 92 Ma)
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Wen Lai, Xiumian Hu, Eduardo Garzanti, Gaoyuan Sun, Carmala N. Garzione, Marcelle BouDagher-Fadel, Anlin Ma; Initial growth of the Northern Lhasaplano, Tibetan Plateau in the early Late Cretaceous (ca. 92 Ma). GSA Bulletin doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/B35124.1
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