In response to collision and convergence between India and Asia during the Cenozoic, convergence took place between the Pamir and South Tian Shan. Here we present new detrital zircon U-Pb ages coupled with conglomerate clast counting and sedimentary data from the late Cenozoic Wuheshalu section in the convergence zone, to shed light on the convergence process of the Pamir and South Tian Shan. Large Triassic zircon U-Pb age populations in all seven samples suggest that Triassic igneous rocks from the North Pamir were the major source area for the late Cenozoic Wuheshalu section. In the Miocene, large populations of the North Pamir component supports rapid exhumation in the North Pamir and suggest that topography already existed there since the early Miocene. Exhumation of the South Tian Shan was relatively less important in the Miocene and its detritus could only reach a limited area in the foreland area. Gradually increasing sediment loading and convergence of the Pamir and South Tian Shan caused rapid subsidence in the convergence area. Since ca. 6–5.3 Ma, the combination of a major North Pamir component and a minor South Tian Shan component at the Wuheshalu section is consistent with active deformation of the South Tian Shan and the North Pamir. During deposition of the upper Atushi Formation, a larger proportion of North Pamir–derived sediments was deposited in the Wuheshalu section, maybe because faulting and northward propagation of the North Pamir caused northward displacement of the depocenter to north of the Wuheshalu section.
Convergence of the Pamir and the South Tian Shan in the late Cenozoic: Insights from provenance analysis in the Wuheshalu section at the convergence area
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Xinwei Chen, Hanlin Chen, Edward R. Sobel, Xiubin Lin, Xiaogan Cheng, Jiakai Yan, Shaomei Yang; Convergence of the Pamir and the South Tian Shan in the late Cenozoic: Insights from provenance analysis in the Wuheshalu section at the convergence area. Lithosphere doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/L1028.1
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