AdvisorDeCelles, Peter G.
Committee ChairDeCelles, Peter G.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe Tibetan plateau is arguably the most important geological feature on Earth, yet its formation and evolution are poorly understood. This investigation utilizes Cretaceous sedimentary strata exposed in the Lhasa terrane of southern Tibet in order to constrain the paleogeography and tectonic setting of the region prior to the Indo-Asian collision. Lower Cretaceous strata consist of clastic sedimentary units that were deposited in shallow marine and fluvial environments. In northern Lhasa these sediments were deposited in a peripheral foreland basin that formed in response to the Lhasa-Qiangtang collision. The lower Cretaceous sediments in southern Lhasa are quartzose and were derived from cover strata exposed by local uplifts. A marine limestone of Aptian-Albian age overlies the lower Cretaceous clastic strata and was deposited in a shallow continental seaway. The paleogeography of the Lhasa terrane during deposition of the carbonate units was dominated by the effects of the Lhasa-Qiangtang collision, although other conditions, such as a high eustatic sea-level, influenced sedimentation as well. The Upper Cretaceous Takena Formation is composed of a basal member of marine limestone and an overlying member of fluvial red beds. The arkosic strata of the Takena Formation were deposited in a retro-arc foreland basin that formed to the north of the Gangdese magmatic arc. Collectively, the Cretaceous sedimentary strata indicate significant tectonic activity occurred in southern Tibet prior to the Indo-Asian collision. Moreover, the data suggest the crust of southern Tibet was thickened and possibly at high elevations before the Cenozoic.