Quantitatively Tracking the Elevation of the Tibetan Plateau Since the Cretaceous: Insights From Whole-Rock Sr/Y and La/Yb Ratios

Fangyang Hu, Fuyuan Wu, James B. Chapman, Mihai N. Ducea, Weiqiang Ji, Shuwen Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Crustal thickness, elevation, and Sr/Y and (La/Yb)N of magmatic rocks are strongly correlated for subduction-related and collision-related mountain belts. We quantitatively constrain the paleo-elevation of the Tibetan Plateau since the Cretaceous using empirically derived equations. The results are broadly consistent with previous estimates based on stable isotope and structural analyses, supporting a complex uplift history. Our data suggest that a protoplateau formed in central Tibet during the Late Cretaceous and was higher than the contemporaneous Gangdese arc. This protoplateau collapsed before the India-Asia collision, during the same time period that elevation in southern Tibet was increasing. During the India-Asia collision, northern and southern Tibet were uplifted first followed by renewed uplift in central Tibet, which suggests a more complicated uplift history than commonly believed. We contend that a broad paleovalley formed during the Paleogene in central Tibet and that the whole Tibetan Plateau reached present-day elevations during the Miocene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020GL089202
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume47
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 16 2020

Keywords

  • Cenozoic
  • Cretaceous
  • Tibetan Plateau
  • magmatic rocks
  • paleo-elevation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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