Low Quaternary slip rate reconciles geodetic and geologic rates along the Altyn Tagh fault northwestern Tibet

Eric Cowgill, Ryan D. Gold, Xuanhua Chen, Xiao Feng Wang, Ramon Arrowsmith, John Southon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

131 Scopus citations

Abstract

For more than two decades the slip rate along the active, left-slip Altyn Tagh fault of northwestern Tibet has been disputed, with millennial rates reported to be as much as three times faster than those determined geodetically. This problem is significant because the total offset, plate-boundary length, and age of the Altyn Tagh fault make it the most important single structure accommodating India-Asia convergence north of the Himalayas. Here we show that the central Altyn Tagh fault slipped at only 14-9 mm/a over the past 4-6 ka by tightly bracketing the age of a displaced fluvial terrace riser at Yuemake (88.51°E, 38.19°N). This result contradicts previous latest Quaternary rates and is consistent with those derived from geodetic, paleoseismic, and geologic measurements, and thus resolves the long-standing dispute over the latest Quaternary slip rate along the longest active strike-slip fault in Tibet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)647-650
Number of pages4
JournalGeology
Volume37
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 8 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

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