Thermal and tectonic consequences of India underthrusting Tibet

Craig, Timothy J. and Copley, Alex and Jackson, James (2012) Thermal and tectonic consequences of India underthrusting Tibet. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 353–35. pp. 231-239. ISSN 0012-821X DOI

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The Tibetan Plateau is the largest orogenic system on Earth, and has been influential in our understanding of how the continental lithosphere deforms. Beneath the plateau are some of the deepest ( ∼ 100 km ) earthquakes observed within the continental lithosphere, which have been pivotal in ongoing debates about the rheology and behaviour of the continents. We present new observations of earthquake depths from the region, and use thermal models to suggest that all of them occur in material at temperatures of ≲ 600 ° C . Thermal modelling, combined with experimentally derived flow laws, suggests that if the Indian lower crust is anhydrous it will remain strong beneath the entire southern half of the Tibetan plateau, as is also suggested by dynamic models. In northwest Tibet, the strong underthrust Indian lower crust abuts the rigid Tarim Basin, and may be responsible for both the clockwise rotation of Tarim relative to stable Eurasia and the gradient of shortening along the Tien Shan.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2012AREP; IA64;
Subjects: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
Divisions: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
Journal or Publication Title: Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume: 353–35
Page Range: pp. 231-239
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2012 16:12
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 10:04

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