A series of tectonic events during the late Mesozoic, including the Yanshanian Orogeny and the Early Cretaceous tectonic extension, reshaped the tectonic regime and landscape of North China (NC). During this period, the Taihang Mountains (THM) became a prominent geomorphic and ecological separation zone, which separates NC into regions with different landforms, tectonic settings, and climatic regimes. The uplift history of the THM during the late Mesozoic is of great interest, since it is critical to constrain the geodynamic and regional climatic evolution of NC. In this study, we report the first carbonate clumped isotope thermometry (Δ47) data for paleosol carbonates from this region to constrain the paleoelevation of the north THM during the late Mesozoic. Our result indicates that the north THM was almost certainly 2.0 ± 0.8 km elevation at ca. 160 Ma associated with crust thickening and shortening. After the collapse of the eastern North China Craton (NCC), the north THM maintained high elevation at ca. 113 Ma (2.7 ± 0.7 km). The findings suggest that the present topographic features of NC may have been established in the Early Cretaceous. Finally, our study suggests elevation decrease at the end of the Early Cretaceous (ca. 110−100 Ma), which is possibly related to isostatic adjustment caused by asthenosphere upwelling and partial crustal thinning in the central NCC.
Late Mesozoic elevation history of the north Taihang Mountains, China: Constraints from clumped isotope geochemistry
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Yixiong Wen, Laiming Zhang, Yalin Li, Katharine W. Huntington, Tianjie Jin, Andrew J. Schauer, Chengshan Wang; Late Mesozoic elevation history of the north Taihang Mountains, China: Constraints from clumped isotope geochemistry. GSA Bulletin 2022; doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/B36364.1
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