Articles

Raising Tibet

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Science  27 Mar 1992:
Vol. 255, Issue 5052, pp. 1663-1670
DOI: 10.1126/science.255.5052.1663

Abstract

Thermochronologic, sedimentologic, oceanographic, and paleoclimatic studies suggest that rapid uplift and unroofing of southern Tibet began about 20 million years ago and that the present elevation of much of the Tibetan plateau was attained by about 8 million years ago. Hypotheses advanced to explain the tectonic evolution of the India-Asia collision, which began about 40 to 50 million years ago, predict the timing and rates of crustal thickening of the southern margin of Asia. However, these models do not predict the prominently enhanced early Miocene denudation and uplift that are manifested in a variety of geological records. A model involving continental extrusion, development of a crustal-scale thrust ramp of the Main Central Thrust beneath the Gangdese belt, and lithospheric delamination provides a history consistent with these observations.

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