EGU21-14050, updated on 04 Mar 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Revised chronology of central Tibet uplift and its implications

Xiaomin Fang1, Guillaume Dupont-Nivet2,3, Chengshan Wang4, Chunhui Song5, Qingquan Meng5, Weilin Zhang1, Junsheng Nie6, Tao Zhang5, and Ziqiang Mao1
Xiaomin Fang et al.
  • 1CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences and CAS Key Laboratory of Continental Collision and Plateau Uplift, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing 100101, China (
  • 2Institute of Geosciences, Potsdam University, 14476 Potsdam, Germany (
  • 3Géosciences Rennes-UMR CNRS 6118, Univ. Rennes, 35000 Rennes, France (
  • 4State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental Geology, Research Center for Tibetan Plateau Geology, and University of Geosciences (Beijing), Beijing 100083, China (
  • 5School of Earth Sciences and Key Laboratory of Western China’s Mineral Resources of Gansu Province, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China (
  • 6MOE Key Laboratory of Western China’s Environment & College of Resources and Environment, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China (

Understanding the Tibetan Plateau (TP) topographic history is essential to determining its building mechanisms and its role in driving regional climate, environments and biodiversity. The Lunpola Basin (central-southern Tibet) is the key place to constrain the Tibet building because it deposits the most complete Cenozoic stratigraphy sequence in the central TP and bears many layers of tuffs, abundant fossil plants and mammals and paleosols. It is also the first place that stable isotope based paleoaltimetry was applied to, which suggested that similar to present elevation was attained in the central TP at least 35 Ma ago, implying a much earlier uplift of the TP than before. This view was soon widely accepted by international society but was challenged by recent discoveries of low elevations tropical fossil apparently deposited at 25.5 Ma. However, we use magnetostratigraphic and radiochronologic dating to robustly revise the chronology of regional elevation estimates both from the stable isotope and fossils in the Lunpola Basin. The results indicate that both ages estimated for the stable and fossil based elevations are wrong with the former from ~40 Ma revising to ~26-21 Ma and the later from ~26 Ma to ~40 Ma. Thus this revised chronology demonstrates that central Tibet was generally low (<2.3 km) since at least ~40 Ma and became high (3.5-4.5 km) since at least ~26 Ma. This supports the Eocene existence of a lowland between the Gangdese Shan and Tanggula Shan until their early Miocene uplift. This later uplift of central-southern Tibet has important implications for Tibetan Plateau (TP) growth mechanisms and agrees well with recently updated studies of the TP-imposed impacts on Asian atmospheric circulations, surface processes and biotic evolution and diversification differentiation.

How to cite: Fang, X., Dupont-Nivet, G., Wang, C., Song, C., Meng, Q., Zhang, W., Nie, J., Zhang, T., and Mao, Z.: Revised chronology of central Tibet uplift and its implications, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14050,, 2021.