Crustal rheology controls on the Tibetan plateau formation during India-Asia convergence

Lin Chen, Fabio A. Capitanio, Lijun Liu, Taras V Gerya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The formation of the Tibetan plateau during the India-Asia collision remains an outstanding issue. Proposed models mostly focus on the different styles of Tibetan crustal deformation, yet these do not readily explain the observed variation of deformation and deep structures along the collisional zone. Here we use three-dimensional numerical models to evaluate the effects of crustal rheology on the formation of the Himalayan-Tibetan orogenic system. During convergence, a weaker Asian crust allows strain far north within the upper plate, where a wide continental plateau forms behind the orogeny. In contrast, a stronger Asian crust suppresses the plateau formation, while the orogeny accommodates most of the shortening. The stronger Asian lithosphere is also forced beneath the Indian lithosphere, forming a reversed-polarity underthrusting. Our results demonstrate that the observed variations in lithosphere deformation and structures along the India-Asia collision zone are primarily controlled by the strength heterogeneity of the Asian continental crust.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15992
Number of pages8
JournalNature Communications
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2017

Cite this

@article{6367b609afae4c029832a029c0656725,
title = "Crustal rheology controls on the Tibetan plateau formation during India-Asia convergence",
abstract = "The formation of the Tibetan plateau during the India-Asia collision remains an outstanding issue. Proposed models mostly focus on the different styles of Tibetan crustal deformation, yet these do not readily explain the observed variation of deformation and deep structures along the collisional zone. Here we use three-dimensional numerical models to evaluate the effects of crustal rheology on the formation of the Himalayan-Tibetan orogenic system. During convergence, a weaker Asian crust allows strain far north within the upper plate, where a wide continental plateau forms behind the orogeny. In contrast, a stronger Asian crust suppresses the plateau formation, while the orogeny accommodates most of the shortening. The stronger Asian lithosphere is also forced beneath the Indian lithosphere, forming a reversed-polarity underthrusting. Our results demonstrate that the observed variations in lithosphere deformation and structures along the India-Asia collision zone are primarily controlled by the strength heterogeneity of the Asian continental crust.",
author = "Lin Chen and Capitanio, {Fabio A.} and Lijun Liu and Gerya, {Taras V}",
year = "2017",
month = "7",
day = "19",
doi = "10.1038/ncomms15992",
language = "English",
volume = "8",
journal = "Nature Communications",
issn = "2041-1723",
publisher = "Nature Publishing Group",

}

Crustal rheology controls on the Tibetan plateau formation during India-Asia convergence. / Chen, Lin; Capitanio, Fabio A.; Liu, Lijun; Gerya, Taras V.

In: Nature Communications, Vol. 8, 15992, 19.07.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Crustal rheology controls on the Tibetan plateau formation during India-Asia convergence

AU - Chen, Lin

AU - Capitanio, Fabio A.

AU - Liu, Lijun

AU - Gerya, Taras V

PY - 2017/7/19

Y1 - 2017/7/19

N2 - The formation of the Tibetan plateau during the India-Asia collision remains an outstanding issue. Proposed models mostly focus on the different styles of Tibetan crustal deformation, yet these do not readily explain the observed variation of deformation and deep structures along the collisional zone. Here we use three-dimensional numerical models to evaluate the effects of crustal rheology on the formation of the Himalayan-Tibetan orogenic system. During convergence, a weaker Asian crust allows strain far north within the upper plate, where a wide continental plateau forms behind the orogeny. In contrast, a stronger Asian crust suppresses the plateau formation, while the orogeny accommodates most of the shortening. The stronger Asian lithosphere is also forced beneath the Indian lithosphere, forming a reversed-polarity underthrusting. Our results demonstrate that the observed variations in lithosphere deformation and structures along the India-Asia collision zone are primarily controlled by the strength heterogeneity of the Asian continental crust.

AB - The formation of the Tibetan plateau during the India-Asia collision remains an outstanding issue. Proposed models mostly focus on the different styles of Tibetan crustal deformation, yet these do not readily explain the observed variation of deformation and deep structures along the collisional zone. Here we use three-dimensional numerical models to evaluate the effects of crustal rheology on the formation of the Himalayan-Tibetan orogenic system. During convergence, a weaker Asian crust allows strain far north within the upper plate, where a wide continental plateau forms behind the orogeny. In contrast, a stronger Asian crust suppresses the plateau formation, while the orogeny accommodates most of the shortening. The stronger Asian lithosphere is also forced beneath the Indian lithosphere, forming a reversed-polarity underthrusting. Our results demonstrate that the observed variations in lithosphere deformation and structures along the India-Asia collision zone are primarily controlled by the strength heterogeneity of the Asian continental crust.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85025141308&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1038/ncomms15992

DO - 10.1038/ncomms15992

M3 - Article

VL - 8

JO - Nature Communications

JF - Nature Communications

SN - 2041-1723

M1 - 15992

ER -