SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. References

We address the problem of late Cenozoic uplift, erosion, and growth of northeastern Tibet by reconstructing, from isopach maps and drill holes, the volumes and masses of sediments deposited in the Qaidam and Hexi Corridor basins since ∼35 Myr ago. The mass budget is based on simple geometrical assumptions such as regional similarity of the thickness ratios between strata of different ages. In the Qaidam, where our record extends back to the Oligocene, the budget shows a huge rise of the accumulation rates after the beginning of the Pliocene (5.3 Ma). The early Pliocene seems to be the period of maximum deposition with accumulation rates in excess of 1 mm yr−1 (∼ 2.7 kg m−2 yr−1) of compacted rocks throughout the basin. There also seems to be a southeastward shift of the largest depocenters between the upper Pliocene (3.4–1.6 Ma) and the Quaternary. In the Hexi Corridor, sedimentation is confined to small foreland flexural depressions associated with the frontal thrusts of the Qilian Shan and occurs at an average rate one order of magnitude smaller than in the Qaidam basin. The accumulation rate is maximum in the Quaternary. The sedimentation history appears to support a plateau-building mechanism resulting from the combination of two geologicallly common processes: crustal-scale thrusting and sedimentary basin infilling. The time needed to completely fill the Qaidam basin and make its catchment a plateau closely resembling that of the highest part of Tibet (Qangtang) is of the order of 9 Myr. The mechanism now at work north of the Kunlun, which involves rapid infilling of broad, flat areas separated by relatively narrow mountain ranges, has thus probably been important in producing the high, smooth topography that characterizes much of central Tibet.

References

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. References
  • Ahnert, F., Functional relationships between denudation, relief, and uplift in large mid-latitude drainage basins, Am. J. Sci., 268, 243263, 1970.
  • Argand, E., La tectonique de l'Asie, Proc. Int. Geol. Gong. XIII, I, 5, 372, 1924.
  • Baldwin, B., C. O. Butler, Compaction curves, AAPG Bull., 69, 622626, 1985.
  • Bally, A., I.-M. Chou, R. Clayton, H. Eugester, K. S. Meckel, Notes on sedimentary basins in China-Report of the American sedimentary delegation to the People's Republic of ChinaOpen File Rep., 86-327, U.S. Geol. Surv., 1986.
  • Bird, P., Initiation of intracontinental subduction in the Himalaya, J. Geophys. Res., 83, 49754987, 1978.
  • , Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources of Qinghai province, Regional Geology of Qinghai Province, Geol. Mem., ser. 1, 24, People‘s Repub. of China Minist. of Geol. and Miner. Resour., Geol. Publ., Beijing, 1991.
  • Burg, J.-P., P. Davy, J. Martinod, Shortening of analogue models of the continental lithosphere: New hypothesis for the formation of the Tibetan plateau, Tectonics, 13, 475483, 1995.
  • Chen, K., J. M. Bowler, Late Pleistocene evolution of salt lakes in the Qaidam basin, Qinghai province, China, Palaeogeogr., Palaeoclimatol., Palaeoecol., 54, 87104, 1986.
  • Chen, Y. T., L. S. Xu, X. Li, M. Zhao, Source process of the 1990 Gonghe, China, earthquake and tectonic stress field in the northeastern Qinghai-Xizang (Tibetan) plateau, PAGEOPH, 146, 697715, 1994.
  • Curray, J. R., Sediment volume and mass beneath the Bay of Bengal, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 125, 371383, 1994.
  • Davies, T. A., R. B. Kidd, A. T. S. Ramsay, A time-slice approach to the history of Cenozoic sedimentation in the Indian Ocean, Sediment. Geol., 96, 157179, 1995.
  • , Defense Mapping Agency, Digital Chart of the World, Fairfax, Va., 1992.
  • England, P. C., G. Houseman, Finite strain calculations of continental deformation, 2, Comparison with the India-Asia collision zone, J. Geophys. Res., 91, 36643676, 1986.
  • England, P. C., D. McKenzie, A thin viscous sheet model for continental deformation, Geophys. J. R. Astron. Soc., 70, 295321, 1982.
  • Fielding, E., B. Isacks, M. Barazangi, C. Duncan, How flat is Tibet?, Geology, 22, 163167, 1994.
  • Gallagher, K., An examination of some uncertainties associated with estimates of sedimentation rates and tectonic subsidence, Basin Res., 2, 97114, 1989.
  • Gaudemer, Y., P. Tapponnier, J. Van der Woerd, B. Meyer, Block rotations, fault bending and mountain building, EUG8, Abstr. suppl. n°1, Terra Nova Abstr., 7, 1995.
  • Gong, S. W., Q. L. Wang, J. H. Lin, Study of dislocation model and evolution characteristics of vertical displacement field of Gonghe Ms = 6.9 earthquake, Acta Seismol. Sin. (Eng. Transl.), 63, 641648, 1993.
  • Gu, S., H. Di, Mechanism of formation of the Qaidam basin and its control on petroleum, Chinese sedimentary BasinsX. Zhu, 4551, Elsevier, New York, 1989.
  • Guo, S., Z. Chen, H. Xiang, H. Dai, The Qilian Mountain-Hexi Corridor Active Fault System, 340, Seismological press, Beijing, 1993.
  • Hirn, A., M. Sapin, J. C. Lépine, E. Y. Gao, J. W. Teng, M. R. Pandey, Himalya border of Tibet: crustal structure and variability, Nature, 307, 2325, 1984.
  • Jin, Y., M. Mc Nutt, Y. Zhu, Evidence from gravity and topography data for folding of Tibet, Nature, 371, 669674, 1994.
  • Ma, X., Lithospheric Dynamic Atlas of China, China Cartogr., Beijing, 1989.
  • Mattauer, M., Intracontinental subduction, crust-mantle décollement and crustal-stacking wedge in the Himalayas and other collision belts, Collision Tectonics, Geol. Soc. Spec. Pub., 19M. P. Coward, A. C. Ries, 3750, 1986.
  • Métivier, F., Volumes sédimentaires et bilans de masses en Asie pendant le Cénozoïque,Thèse de Doctorat,Université de Paris 7,1996.
  • Métivier, F., Y. Gaudemer, Mass transfer between eastern Tien Shan and adjacent basins: Constraints on regional tectonics and topography, Geophys. J. Int., 128, 118, 1997.
  • Meyer, B., Mécanismes des grands tremblements de terre et du raccourcissement crustal oblique au bord nord-est du Tibet,Thèse de Doctorat,Université de Paris 7,1991.
  • Meyer, B., P. Tapponnier, L. Bourjot, F. Métivier, Y. Gaudemer, G. Peltzer, S. Guo, Z. Chen, Mechanisms of active crustal thickening in Gansu, And Oblique, Strike-slip controlled northeastward growth of the Tibet plateau, Geophys. J. Int., 1998.
  • Milos, H., Erosion and Environment, Environ. Sci. Appl., 9A. Biswas, M. R. Biswas, Pergamon, Tarrytown, N.Y., 1980.
  • Molnar, P., P. Tapponnier, Active tectonics of Tibet, J. Geophys. Res., 83, 53615375, 1978.
  • Molnar, P., P. England, J. Martinod, Mantle dynamics, uplift of the Tibetan plateau, and the Indian monsoon, Rev. Geophys., 31, 357396, 1993.
  • Ni, J., M. Barazangi, High-frequency seismic wave propagation beneath the indian shield, Himalayan arc, Tibetan plateau and surrounding regions : high uppermost mantle velocities and efficient Sn propagation beneath Tibet, Geophys. J. R. Astron. Soc., 72, 663689, 1983.
  • Peltzer, G., P. Tapponnier, R. Armijo, Magnitude of Late Quaternary left-lateral displacements along the north edge of Tibet, Science, 246, 12851289, 1989.
  • Pinet, P., M. Souriau, Continental erosion and large-scale relief, Tectonics, 7, 563582, 1988.
  • Powell, C. McA., P. J. Conaghan, Plate tectonics and the Himalayas, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 20, 112, 1973.
  • Slingerland, R., J. W. Harbaugh, K. Furlong, Simulating Clastic Sedimentary Basins, Prenctice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N. J., 1994.
  • Sun, D., W. Leibo, Tectonic Systems Map of the People‘s Republic of China and Adjacent Sea Area, Cartogr. Publ., Beijing, 1984.
  • Tapponnier, P., G. Peltzer, R. Armijo, On the mechanics of the collision between India and Asia, Collision tectonics, Geol. Soc. Spec. Publ., 19M. P. Coward, A. C. Ries, 115156, 1986.
  • Tapponnier, P., et al., Active thrusting and folding in the Qilian Shan, and decoupling between upper crust and mantle in northeastern Tibet, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 97, 382403, 1990.
  • Van der Woerd, J., Couplage cinématique entre décrochements et chevauchements actifs dans le Nord du Tibet. Croissance du plateau Tibétain,Thèse de Doctoral,Université Paris VII, 411 pp.,1998.
  • Van Der Woerd, J., F. J. Ryerson, P. Tapponnier, Y. Gaudemer, R. Finkel, A. S. Mériaux, M. Caffee, G. Zhao, Q. He, Holocene left-slip rate determined by cosmogenic surface dating on the Xi-datan segment of the Kunlun Fault (Qing. hai, China), Geology, 268, 695699, 1998.
  • Wang, Q. M., M. P. Coward, The Chaidam basin (NW China): formation and hydrocarbon potential, J. Pet. Geol., 13, 93112, 1990.
  • Wang, Q. M., M. P. Coward, The Jiuxi basin, Hexi Corridor, NW China: foreland structural features and hydrocarbon potential, J. Pet. Geol., 16, 169182, 1993.
  • Wittlinger, G., et al., Seismic tomography of northern Tibet and Kunlun : evidence for crustal blocks and mantle velocity contrasts, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 139, 263269, 1996.
  • Xu, C., Qaidamu Basin, United Nations Stratigraphic Correlation Between Sedimentary Basins of the ESCAP Region vol. X, ESCAP Atlas of Stratigraphy IV: People‘s Republic of China, Miner. Resour. Dev. Ser., 52, United Nations, New York, 1985.
  • Zhao, W. L., W. J. Morgan, Uplift of the tibetan plateau, Tectonics, 4, 359369, 1985.
  • Zhu, Z., Quaternary Geologic Map of the Peoples Republic of China and Adjacent Sea Area, China Cartogr. Publ., Beijing, China, 1990.