Upward and outward growth of north-central Tibet: Mechanisms that build high-elevation, low-relief plateaus

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Abstract

Large orogenic plateaus, such as the Tibetan Plateau, are characterized by high-elevation, low-relief topography, in contrast to the rugged terrains of narrower mountain belts. A key question is how low-elevation hinterland basins, characteristic of broad regions of shortening, were raised while regional relief was flattened. This study uses the Hoh Xil Basin in north-central Tibet as an analogue for late-stage orogenic plateau formation. The precipitation temperatures of lacustrine carbonates deposited between ∼19 and ∼12 million years ago record an early to middle Miocene phase of surface uplift of 1.0 ± 0.7 km. The results of this study demonstrate the contribution of sub-surface geodynamic processes in driving regional surface uplift and redistribution of crustal material to flatten plateau surfaces during the late stage of orogenic plateau formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberadh3058
JournalScience Advances
Volume9
Issue number27
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 7 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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