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Pollen evidence for an Eocene to Miocene elevation of central southern Tibet predating the rise of the High Himalaya

Song, Xiao-Yan; Spicer, Robert; Yang, Jian; Yao, Yi-Feng and Li, Cheng-Sen (2010). Pollen evidence for an Eocene to Miocene elevation of central southern Tibet predating the rise of the High Himalaya. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 297(1) pp. 159–168.

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Quantifying the elevation history of the 2000 km-wide Tibetan Plateau to an average elevation of 5 km is important for understanding key aspects of Cenozoic global climate change, collision tectonics and the evolution of the Asian monsoon, yet quantitative measures of Cenozoic surface height change across Tibet remain few and are sometimes contradictory. Here we report the first exploratory application of a modified Co-existence Approach (CoA) using previously published fossil pollen records to reconstruct quantitatively the Cenozoic minimum palaeoaltitudes of Gangdise-Nyainqentanglha Area of the Tibetan Plateau. GCM simulations were used to adjust Eocene and Miocene raw CoA values for secular climate change and changes in palaeolatitude. This modelled correction increased the CoA-derived altitudes by 895 ± 96 m to give a minimum overall Eocene altitude of 3295–3495 m. The Miocene correction factor of 481 ± 25 m gave an overall minimum altitude estimate of 3000–3150 m. For the Holocene CoA returns four equally likely elevations of 4800–4950 m, 3800–3900 m, 3000–3100 m and 2900–3000 m. The first of these is indistinguishable from the present day regional average while the others suggest significant upslope pollen transport. Both the Eocene and Miocene palynologically-derived height estimates are consistent with suggestions of significant core plateau elevation by the Eocene, but are likely to underestimate the true palaeoelevation due to pre-Himalayan upslope pollen transport.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2010 Elsevier
ISSN: 0031-0182
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetNatural Science Foundation of China (30530050)
Not SetNot SetNational Basic Research Program (2004CB720205). A joint-project of The Royal Society, London and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Visiting Professorship awarded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences to RAS.
Keywords: Paleoaltimetry; Tibet; Cenozoic; Palynology; Co-existence Approach; Himalaya uplift
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 25730
Depositing User: Robert Spicer
Date Deposited: 28 Dec 2010 18:21
Last Modified: 02 May 2018 13:22
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