The rise and demise of the Paleogene Central Tibetan Valley

Xiong, Zhongyu; Liu, Xiaohui; Ding, Lin; Farnsworth, Alex; Spicer, Robert A; Xu, Qiang; Valdes, Paul; He, Songlin; Zeng, Deng; Wang, Chao; Li, Zhenyu; Guo, Xudong; Su, Tao; Zhao, Chenyuan; Wang, Houqi and Yue, Yahui (2022). The rise and demise of the Paleogene Central Tibetan Valley. Science Advances, 8(6), article no. eabj0944.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abj0944

URL: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abj0944

Abstract

Reconstructing the Paleogene topography and climate of central Tibet informs understanding of collisional tectonic mechanisms and their links to climate and biodiversity. Radiometric dates of volcanic/sedimentary rocks and paleotemperatures based on clumped isotopes within ancient soil carbonate nodules from the Lunpola Basin, part of an east-west trending band of basins in central Tibet and now at 4.7 km, suggest that the basin rose from <2.0 km at 50 to 38 million years (Ma) to >4.0 km by 29 Ma. The height change is quantified using the rates at which wet-bulb temperatures ( ) decline at land surfaces as those surface rise. In this case, fell from ~8°C at ~38 Ma to ~1°C at 29 Ma, suggesting at least ~2.0 km of surface uplift in ~10 Ma under warm Eocene to Oligocene conditions. These results confirm that a Paleogene Central Tibetan Valley transformed to a plateau before the Neogene.

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