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Middle-late Miocene rapid exhumation of the southern Qilian Shan and implications for propagation of the Tibetan Plateau

Abstract : The northeastern Tibetan Plateau is a key place to test several contrasting tectonic models regarding uplift of the plateau. However, our understanding of the Cenozoic deformation history of the northeastern Tibetan Plateau is incomplete, preventing a clear understanding of the uplift and deformation mechanisms of this plateau. Here, we present new apatite (U-Th)/He ages from the hanging wall of the Qaidam Shan fault, which lies on the southern margin of the Qilian Shan. Our results reveal a phase of rapid exhumation during 15–10 Ma driven by thrusting accompanied by southward growth of the Qilian Shan. A review of the literature reveals that this phase of tectonic deformation is widespread in the northeastern Tibetan Plateau and some recent studies suggest ~25–20 Ma onset of sediment accumulation in the northern Qaidam Basin bounding the Qilian Shan. These results challenge models arguing for early deformation of northeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau.
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Qingquan Meng, Chunhui Song, Junsheng Nie, Chuan Liu, Pengju He, et al.. Middle-late Miocene rapid exhumation of the southern Qilian Shan and implications for propagation of the Tibetan Plateau. Tectonophysics, Elsevier, 2020, 774, pp.228279. ⟨10.1016/j.tecto.2019.228279⟩. ⟨insu-02371699⟩

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