Surface uplift, tectonics, and erosion of eastern Tibet from large-scale drainage patterns

M. K. Clark, L. M. Schoenbohm, L. H. Royden, Kelin Whipple, B. C. Burchfiel, X. Zhang, W. Tang, E. Wang, L. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

484 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A new regional compilation of the drainage history in southeastern Tibet suggests that the modern rivers draining the plateau margin were once tributaries to a single, southward flowing system which drained into the South China Sea. Disruption of the paleo-drainage occurred by river capture and reversal prior to or coeval with the initiation of Miocene (?) uplift in eastern Tibet, including ∼2000 m of surface uplift of the lower plateau margin since reversal of the flow direction of the Yangtze River. Despite lateral changes in course due to capture and reversal, the superposition of eastward and southward draining rivers that cross the southeastern plateau margin suggests that uplift has occurred over long wavelengths (>1000 km), mimicking the present low-gradient topographic slope. Thus reorganization of drainage lines by capture and reversal events explains most of the peculiar patterns of the eastern plateau rivers, without having to appeal to large-magnitude tectonic shear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTectonics
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

drainage patterns
Tibet
Tectonics
drainage
rivers
Drainage
erosion
Erosion
tectonics
uplift
Rivers
plateaus
plateau
margins
river
tributaries
tributary
China
Miocene
histories

Keywords

  • Drainage reorganization
  • Erosion
  • Geomorphology
  • River capture
  • Tectonics
  • Tibet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics

Cite this

Clark, M. K., Schoenbohm, L. M., Royden, L. H., Whipple, K., Burchfiel, B. C., Zhang, X., ... Chen, L. (2004). Surface uplift, tectonics, and erosion of eastern Tibet from large-scale drainage patterns. Tectonics, 23(1). https://doi.org/10.1029/2002TC001402

Surface uplift, tectonics, and erosion of eastern Tibet from large-scale drainage patterns. / Clark, M. K.; Schoenbohm, L. M.; Royden, L. H.; Whipple, Kelin; Burchfiel, B. C.; Zhang, X.; Tang, W.; Wang, E.; Chen, L.

In: Tectonics, Vol. 23, No. 1, 02.2004.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Clark, MK, Schoenbohm, LM, Royden, LH, Whipple, K, Burchfiel, BC, Zhang, X, Tang, W, Wang, E & Chen, L 2004, 'Surface uplift, tectonics, and erosion of eastern Tibet from large-scale drainage patterns', Tectonics, vol. 23, no. 1. https://doi.org/10.1029/2002TC001402
Clark, M. K. ; Schoenbohm, L. M. ; Royden, L. H. ; Whipple, Kelin ; Burchfiel, B. C. ; Zhang, X. ; Tang, W. ; Wang, E. ; Chen, L. / Surface uplift, tectonics, and erosion of eastern Tibet from large-scale drainage patterns. In: Tectonics. 2004 ; Vol. 23, No. 1.
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