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Spatial distribution of denudation in Eastern Tibet and regressive erosion of plateau margins

Abstract : The Longmen Shan range is one of the major topographic and structural features of the eastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau. With an impressive topographic gradient and low convergence rates across the range this region has raised important questions concerning the dynamics of plateau margin settings, such as the long-term mechanisms of topographic evolution. The investigation of the distribution in space and time of denudation can provide critical insight into such dynamics and shed light on still unresolved controversies. For that purpose, we present a new dataset that documents the intensity and distribution of denudation processes across this plateau margin through field survey of fluvial incision markers, quantitative geomorphology and cosmogenic nuclide derived basin-wide erosion rates. Erosion is < 0.5 mm/year in the frontal region of the Longmen Shan and between 0.5 and 1 mm/year further west, with a gradual decrease when reaching the northern headwaters of the Min Jiang watershed, adjacent to the beginning of the Tibetan Plateau. The spatial distribution of denudation inferred from the various methods we use suggests that most of the differential uplift in the Central Longmen Shan is accommodated by the Beichuan Fault and frontal structures located in the foothills. The denudation pattern seems also to reflect the large-scale propagation of erosion from the Sichuan Basin toward the Plateau. This suggests that the Longmen Shan range is submitted to the combined influences of slow thrusting activity on the frontal structures and progressive westward regressive erosion as a probable response to a pulse of uplift of the Tibetan Plateau Eastern margin, that started 10 Ma ago.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, December 22, 2010 - 2:11:08 PM
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Vincent Godard, J. Lavé, J. Carcaillet, R. Cattin, D. Bourles, et al.. Spatial distribution of denudation in Eastern Tibet and regressive erosion of plateau margins. Tectonophysics, Elsevier, 2010, 491, pp.253-274. ⟨10.1016/J.TECTO.2009.10.026⟩. ⟨insu-00549737⟩



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