Recognition of the existence of an Andean-type continental margin in southern Tibet prior to its collision with India has provided crucial constraints on the formation of the Tibetan Plateau and South Asian climate evolution. Here, we focused on well-dated Late Cretaceous successions in the Linzhou Basin and determined the elevation changes from sea level to high mountains in the Gangdese magmatic arc in southern Tibet. Our results show that the Linzhou Basin was still submerged in the Tethyan Sea at around 92 Ma when it accumulated Cenomanian (ca. 105−92 Ma) shallow-marine orbitolinid-bearing limestones (Takena Formation); these limestones are unconformably overlain by Campanian (83−78 Ma) fluvial-lacustrine deposits (Shexing Formation) after an ∼9 m.y. depositional hiatus. A prominent unconformity between the tightly folded Shexing Formation and gently tilted overlying Paleocene−Eocene Linzizong successions represents the formation of the regional Lhasaplano ca. 70 Ma, which may have been linked to the rise of an Andean-type Gangdese mountain range along the southern margin of the Lhasa terrane. Using carbonate oxygen isotope and clumped isotope thermometry data from the Shexing Formation paleosols, we quantitatively documented the rise of the Andean-type Gangdese Mountains with a peneplain surface at an elevation of 2.7 +0.5/−0.9 km above sea level prior to onset of the India-Asia collision ca. 65−63 Ma. This scenario of surface gain may have been an isostatic compensation response to the crust thickening to over 50 km during the Late Cretaceous. Subsequently, the surface isostatically rose to its near-present elevation of ∼4.6 km due to the removal of overthickened mantle lithosphere and revival of intense Gangdese magmatism by 56 Ma.

This content is PDF only. Please click on the PDF icon to access.
You do not have access to this content, please speak to your institutional administrator if you feel you should have access.