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Discussion on the age, amplitude and form of the uplifting of the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau

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... Others have proposed that the plateau reached its highest elevation in central part but that plateau outgrowth occurred at the same time about 14 Ma, and then subsided due to gravitational collapse (Molnar et al., 1993;Coleman and Hodges, 1995). Alternatively, those supporting a later uplift have proposed that the rapid uplift of Tibetan Plateau began at 3.6 Ma and has continued to the present day (Xu et al., 1973;Li et al., 1979Li et al., , 2001Li and Fang, 1999;Song et al., 2003). Other scholars believe that the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau is a multi-phase process that has progressed at different rates and over irregular intervals (e.g., Li, 1995;Zhong and Ding, 1996;Song et al., 2000;Tapponnier et al., 2001;Wang et al., 2008Wang et al., , 2012Wang et al., , 2014a. ...
... The average uplift rate since 2.47 Ma is~0.26 mm/yr. As mentioned in the introduction, there are three models regarding the process of Tibetan Plateau uplift: the early uplift, later uplift, and multi-stage uplift models (Xu et al., 1973;Li et al., 1979Li et al., , 2001Harrison et al., 1992;Molnar et al., 1993;Coleman and Hodges, 1995;Li and Fang, 1999;Song et al., 2003), of which the multi-stage theory has received the most support (e.g., Li, 1995;Zhong and Ding, 1996;Li and Fang, 1999;Song et al., 2000;Wang et al., 2008Wang et al., , 2012Wang et al., , 2014bVandenberghe, 2016). Zhang et al. (2013) proposed that the Tibetan Plateau has experienced five major uplift events at 58-53 Ma, 45-30 Ma, 25-20 Ma, 13-7 Ma, and since 5 Ma. ...
... The MSC is located on the south-east edge of the QTP and its formation was thus connected with the uplift of the QTP. The Qinghai-Tibet Region had an altitude of approximately 1000 m before the Pliocene (Li et al., 1979) and experienced a strong uplift caused by the Himalayan Orogeny during the Pliocene. Corresponding to the strong uplift of the QTP over the past 3.6 Ma, three main geological movements took place: the Qinghai-Tibet Movement (3.6 to 1.4 Ma), the Kunhuang Movement (1.2 to 0.6 Ma) and the Gonghe Movement (0.15 to 0 Ma) (Li & Fang, 1998;Li, 1999;Zhao et al., 2011). ...
... Four gradual population differentiation events are indicated in the evolution of B. suppressaria at approximately 3.20, 2.49, 1.64 and 0.55 Ma, respectively. The former three differentiation events occurred during phases a, b and c (respectively) of the Qinghai-Tibet Movement (Li et al., 1979;Li, 1999). The last differentiation event between phylogroups D and E occurred during the Kunhuang Movement (Cui et al., 1997(Cui et al., , 1998. ...
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The Mountains of Southwest China (MSC) - the most important mountain system in East Asia - creates physical barriers to migration and isolates organisms in different regions. In this study, we explored the genetic structure and phylogeography of Biston suppressaria, a moth species widely distributed in MSC and south China, based on three mtDNA and three ncDNA loci. MtDNA revealed high genetic differentiation among the geographical populations and divided B.suppressaria into five phylogroups (A-E). With the exception of phylogroups B and E which are sympatric, the other three phylogroups have their own distinct distribution areas. Four population differentiations occurred, and the divergence time was consistent with the three phases of the Qinghai-Tibet Movement and Kunhuang Movement, respectively. In contrast, ncDNA did not reveal any phylogeographical structure. Incomplete lineage sorting is considered the most plausible cause of the discordance between mtDNA and ncDNA genes, after excluding secondary admixture and Wolbachia infection. A complex combination of topography and geological movements of south China and MSC contributes to the complex evolutionary history of B.suppressaria.
... The HHM, an important part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP), were formed by a series of geological movements, which resulted in the strong uplift of the whole QTP over the past 3.6 Myr (Li & Fang, 1998;Li, 1999). The QTP region had an altitude of approximately 1000 m before the Pliocene (Li et al., 1979) and experienced a strong uplift caused by the Himalayan Orogeny during the Pliocene. During the strong uplift of the QTP, three main geological movements took place: the Qinghai-Tibet Movement (3.6-1.4 ...
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Aim: East Asia is known for its exceptionally high levels of biodiversity, which is connected to its high level of species differentiation. Geological movements are the most important factor promoting the species differentiation in East Asia. In this paper, we choose Biston panterinaria, a moth species widely distributed in East Asia, to study the relative contributions of geographical isolation and glaciation cycles to its current genetic constitution. Location: East Asia. Methods: Phylogenetic analyses were based on three data sets. beast was used to estimate the divergence time and reconstruct the maximum clade credibility tree. Mismatch distribution and Bayesian skyline plots (BSP) were used to infer historical population fluctuations. maxent was used to predict the potential species distributions during two periods: the present day and the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Results: The phylogenetic tree and the median joining network strongly supported four reciprocally monophyletic lineages: northern, Yunnan-Tibet, southern and Yunnan-SE. The estimates of divergence time suggested that three differentiation processes occurred at approximately 1.17, 0.76 and 0.67 Ma. Within the northern and southern lineages, lineage divergence occurred at approximately 0.17 and 0.16 Ma. Mismatch distribution and BSP suggested that the northern and southern lineages experienced one expansion after the LGM, and this result was consistent with the result of the ecological niche model. Main conclusions: Our results suggested that B. panterinaria experienced three fragmentations of wide-ranging ancestral populations, and that mountain barrier isolation induced by geological movements is the main driver of lineage differentiation. Climatic oscillations during the Pleistocene affected the population differentiation within both the northern and southern lineages. The distribution of the four lineages of B. panterinaria is generally consistent with the zoogeographical regionalization of China. This study provides direct evidence for the importance of mountain barriers in promoting population differentiation.
... The region's annual precipitation averages less than 30 mm. It is bounded by the Lup Nur Depression to the northwest, by an eastern branch of the Tianshan Mountains to the north, and by the Altyn Tagh Mountains, which have been experiencing rapid uplift since the late Pliocene, to the south (Li et al. 1979). Sand dunes have developed on sediments that mainly originated from the Altyn Tagh Mountains, and have been subsequently reworked by winds that primarily are from the north and east. ...
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Star dunes have received less study than other major dune types, though they are widely recognized to represent a major dune type that develops under a multi-directional wind regime. Several types that include simple, compound, and complex star dunes are identified in the south of China’s Kumtagh Desert. It is suggested that the formation and development of these star dunes is controlled by wind regime, the underlying and surrounding topography, and sediment availability. A complex wind regime and rich sediment availability are generally required for the development of star dunes. Especially, wind regime appears to be the most important control factor. The wind regime under which star dunes arise is characterized by the drift potential, amount of variability in drift direction, and the direction distribution mode of the drift potential. It is strongly suggested that a rectangular bimodal wind direction distribution mode has unique significance in star dune formation. Under this mode, star dunes can develop in areas with a directional variability index typical of linear dunes or even barchan dunes. A development model is proposed for star dunes based on the following evolution: barchan dunes → transverse ridges → dune networks → simple star dunes → compound star dunes → star dunes atop complex linear dunes.
... This study showed the strong uplifting of Eastern Tianshan Mountains also occurred in about 24 Ma, so we suggest that the uplifting of the whole Tianshan Mountains during Oligocene-Miocene has a close relation to the coeval tectonic events of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, which was the response of the northward expanding of the Plateau. Moreover, the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau has undertaken another rapid uplifting and deformation in the Late Cenozoic [47][48][49][50][51][52][53][54][55] , and this tectonic event was also recorded in the Eastern Tianshan Mountains. Although we still could not affirm whether the Cenozoic uplifting of the Eastern Tianshan Mountains has direct relationship with the Indo-Eurasian collision or not, the above analysis showed that the uplifting of the Tianshan Mountains in the Cenozoic has much closer relationship with the evolution of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, especially with those tectonic events occurred in the northern plateau. ...
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The Tianshan Mountains have undergone its initial orogeny, extension adjusting and re-orogeny since the Late Paleozoic. The re-orogeny and uplifting process of the orogeny in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic are two of most important events in the geological evolution of Euro-Asian continent, which resulted in the formation of the present range-and-basin pattern in topography of the Tianshan Mountains and its adjacent areas. Thermochronology results by the method of fission-track dating of apatite suggest three obvious uplifting stages of the Bogad Mountain Chain re-orogeny during the Cenozoic, i.e. 5.6–19 Ma, 20–30 Ma, and 42–47 Ma. The strongest uplifting stage of the mountain is the second one at 20–30 Ma, when the mountain uplifted as a whole, and the beginning of re-orogeny was no less than 65 Ma. Furthermore, our studies also show that the uplifting types of the mountain are variable in the different time periods, including uplifting of mountain as a whole and differential uplifting. The apparently diversified uplifting processes of the mountain chain are characterized by the migration (or transformation) of the uplifting direction of the mountain from west to east and from north to south, and the main process of mountain extending is from north to south.
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Although the Tibetan Plateau has a long evolution history of at least 50 ma, our knowledge for its evolution is largely based on a few of important events of tectonics, sedimentation and thermo-activity and climate etc that took place at a short geological time. Based on results of previous studies, this paper intends to characterize the features of these events and to explore their possible spatial and temporal correlations and dynamic controlling facts. The northward motion of the Indian plate abruptly slowed down in Late Eocene(~50 Ma) and Late Miocene(~10 Ma) times. The former event is considered to have resulted from the collision of the Indian subcontinent with Eurasian continent, while the latter event is thought to have been related to the outward expansion of the Tibetan Plateau due to the convectional remove the lower part of the lithosphere of the plateau. Besides, there were two events that occurred within the Tibetan Plateau, leaving signatures all over plateau, although which were not reflected by the change in rate of the Indian plate's motion. One is the stop of shortening of the plateau and another is the onset of the orogeny that occurred along the marginal areas of the plateau, both of which occurred in the Middle Cenozoic(~25 Ma). The synchronous occurrence of these two events with different nature reflects that the plateau underwent outward expansion, probably also caused by the delaminating of the lower lithosphere and resultant isostatic rebound. It can be inferred that the Tibetan Plateau experienced two events related to large-scale outward expansion through in Middle and Late Cenozoic times. Even the early event was leg behind of the collision between India and Eurasia that occurred in~50 Ma, and it is speculated that the early Cenozoic evolution of the plateau was mainly characterized by the thickening of the lower crust, associated with surface uplift.
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A sporopollen record recovered from 5.3–1.83 Ma sediments was obtained from the lacustrine Yahu section in the central Qaidam Basin of inner Asia. The results provide evidence for vertical zonation of vegetation on the mountains surrounding the basin during the Pliocene and development of forests on the mountains and grasslands around the lake basin. At 3.6 Ma, herbaceous plants (especially xerophytic plants such as Artemisia, Chenopodiaceae and Ephedra) increased for a short time within the basin. Xerophytic plants increased continually after 2.6 Ma in the basin, which exhibited steppe vegetation, and the climate became drier than before. These vegetation changes in the region of the Yahu section suggest a process of stepwise aridification in Central Asia's interior since the Pliocene, and it may be related to global cooling and uplift of the Tibetan Plateau.
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