The western margin of the Tibetan Plateau is defined by the NE-striking, sinistral Longmu Co fault system and the NW-striking, dextral Karakoram fault system. The region of convergence of these two systems is remote and politically sensitive, precluding systematic geologic mapping in the field. As a consequence, there is considerable controversy regarding the relationship between these regionally important structural features. Analysis of Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) multispectral data and validation with field mapping provide new insights via the production of a lithologic map. Detailed analysis of the ASTER data shows that the two fault systems do not intersect but instead become parallel. Additionally, the geometry and sense of motion of the two fault systems imply that they are acting as a conjugate fault pair, in conjunction with the normal Angmong fault system, allowing for the extrusion of Tibetan lithosphere toward the east.
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