Tectonic control of Yarlung Tsangpo Gorge revealed by a buried canyon in Southern Tibet

Ping Wang, Dirk Scherler, Jing Liu-Zeng, Jürgen Mey, Jean Philippe Avouac, Yunda Zhang, Dingguo Shi

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93 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Himalayan mountains are dissected by some of the deepest and most impressive gorges on Earth. Constraining the interplay between river incision and rock uplift is important for understanding tectonic deformation in this region. We report here the discovery of a deeply incised canyon of the Yarlung Tsangpo River, at the eastern end of the Himalaya, which is now buried under more than 500 meters of sediments. By reconstructing the former valley bottom and dating sediments at the base of the valley fill, we show that steepening of the Tsangpo Gorge started at about 2 million to 2.5 million years ago as a consequence of an increase in rock uplift rates. The high erosion rates within the gorge are therefore a direct consequence of rapid rock uplift.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)978-981
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume346
Issue number6212
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2014

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    Wang, P., Scherler, D., Liu-Zeng, J., Mey, J., Avouac, J. P., Zhang, Y., & Shi, D. (2014). Tectonic control of Yarlung Tsangpo Gorge revealed by a buried canyon in Southern Tibet. Science, 346(6212), 978-981. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1259041