Thermochronologic evidence for plateau formation in central Tibet: By 45 Ma

Alexander Rohrmann, Paul A Kapp, Barbara Carrapa, Peter W Reiners, Jerome Guynn, Lin Ding, Matthew Heizler

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Abstract

The timing of Tibetan plateau development remains elusive, despite its importance for evaluating models of continental lithosphere deformation and associated changes in surface elevation and climate. We present new thermochronologic data [biotite and K-feldspar 40Ar/39Ar, apatite fi ssion track, and apatite (U-Th)/He] from the central Tibetan plateau (Lhasa and Qiangtang terranes). The data indicate that over large regions, rocks underwent rapid to moderate cooling and exhumation during Cretaceous to Eocene time. This was coeval with >50% upper crustal shortening, suggesting substantial crustal thickening and surface elevation gain. Thermal modeling of combined thermochronometers requires exhumation of most samples to depths of <3 km between 85 and 45 Ma, followed by a decrease in erosional exhumation rate to low values of <0.05 mm/yr. The thermochronological results, when interpreted in the context of the deformation and paleoaltimetric history, are best explained by a scenario of plateau growth that began locally in central Tibet during the Late Cretaceous and expanded to encompass most of central Tibet by 45 Ma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-190
Number of pages4
JournalGeology
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2012

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exhumation
plateau
apatite
Cretaceous
crustal shortening
crustal thickening
continental lithosphere
feldspar
biotite
terrane
Eocene
cooling
climate
history
rock
modeling
rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

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Thermochronologic evidence for plateau formation in central Tibet : By 45 Ma. / Rohrmann, Alexander; Kapp, Paul A; Carrapa, Barbara; Reiners, Peter W; Guynn, Jerome; Ding, Lin; Heizler, Matthew.

In: Geology, Vol. 40, No. 2, 02.2012, p. 187-190.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rohrmann, Alexander ; Kapp, Paul A ; Carrapa, Barbara ; Reiners, Peter W ; Guynn, Jerome ; Ding, Lin ; Heizler, Matthew. / Thermochronologic evidence for plateau formation in central Tibet : By 45 Ma. In: Geology. 2012 ; Vol. 40, No. 2. pp. 187-190.
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