, Volume 44, Issue 23, pp 2117-2124

Uplift of the Tibetan Plateau and environmental changes

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Abstract

Major progress, problems, and challenges of recent investigation of the Tibetan Plateau uplift processes and resulting environmental changes are reviewed and summarized briefly, which especially covers the National Tibetan Research Projects of the Chinese Eighth (1992–1996) and Ninth (1997–2001) “Five-Year Projects”. The Tibetan Plateau uplift is a complicated multiple cyclic process. The Gangdise and Himalayas began to uplift in the Middle Eocene and Early Miocene respectively, while the main part of the Plateau merely underwent corresponding passive deformation and secular denudation, resulting in two planation surfaces. The third and also the strongest uplift involved the whole Plateau and its marginal mountains commenced at 3.6 Ma. Successive Kunlun-Huanghe movement at 1.1–0.6 Ma and Gonghe movement at 0.15 Ma raised the Plateau to its present height. The Asian monsoonal system and Asian natural environment formed in response to these tectonic uplifts.