The Cenozoic growth of the Qilian Shan in the northeastern Tibetan Plateau: A sedimentary archive from the Jiuxi Basin

Weitao Wang, Peizhen Zhang, Jianzhang Pang, Carmala Garzione, Huiping Zhang, Caicai Liu, Dewen Zheng, Wenjun Zheng, Jingxing Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Sedimentary deposits in Tibetan Basins archive the spatial-temporal patterns of the deformation and surface uplift processes that created the area's high topography during the Cenozoic India-Asia collision. In this study, new stratigraphic investigation of the Caogou section from the Jiuxi Basin in the northeasternmost part of Tibetan Plateau provides chronologic constraints on the deformation and northward growth of the plateau. Magnetostratigraphic analysis results suggest that the age of the studied ~1000 m thick section spans from ~24.2 Ma to 2.8 Ma. Detailed sedimentology and apatite fission track (AFT) analyses reveal that variations in the clast provenance, lithofacies, sediment accumulation rates, and AFT lag times occurred at ~13.5-10.5 Ma. We interpret these changes as in response to the initial uplift of the North Qilian Shan. In addition, paleomagnetic declination results from the section indicate a clockwise rotation of the Jiuxi Basin before ~13.5 Ma, which was followed by a subsequent counterclockwise rotation during 13.5-9 Ma. This reversal in rotation direction may be directly related to left-lateral strike-slip activity along the easternmost segment of the Altyn Tagh Fault. Combined with previous studies, we suggest that movement on the western part of the Altyn Tagh Fault was probably initiated during the Oligocene (>30 Ma) and that fault propagation to its eastern tip occurred during the middle-late Miocene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2235-2257
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Qilian Shan
  • magnetostratigraphy
  • northeastern Tibet
  • tectonic uplift

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The Cenozoic growth of the Qilian Shan in the northeastern Tibetan Plateau: A sedimentary archive from the Jiuxi Basin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this