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Tectonic uplift and sedimentary evolution of the Jiuxi Basin in the northern margin of the Tibetan Plateau since 13 Ma BP

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Sediments shed from the northern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, the Qilian Mountains, are widely deposited in the foreland basin, the Jiuxi Basin, archiving plenty of information about the mountain surface uplift and erosion history. The Laojunmiao section, 1960 m thick, representing the upper sequence of the Cenozoic basin sediments, is paleomagnetically dated to about 13-0 Ma BP. Detailed sedimentary study of this sequence has revealed five sedimentary facies associations which determine four stages of sedimentary environment evolution. They are: (I) the half-deep lake system before 12.18 Ma BP, (II) the shallow lake system between 12.18 and 8.26 Ma BP, (III) the fan delta dominated sedimentary system in dry climate between 8.26 and 6.57 Ma BP, and (IV) alluvial fan system since 6.57 Ma BP. The associated mountain erosion and uplift are suggested to have experienced three phases, that is, tectonic stable (13-8.26 Ma BP), gradual uplift (8.26-<4.96 Ma BP), and rapid intermittent uplift (>3.66-0 Ma BP). The uplift at ∼3.66 Ma BP is of great importance in tectonics and geomorphology. Since then, tectonic uplift and mountain building have been accelerated and become strong intermittent. At least three significant tectonic events took place with ages at <1.80-1.23, 0.93-0.84 and 0.14 Ma BP, respectively. Thus, the uplift of the northern Tibetan Plateau is a complex process of multiple phases, unequal speed and irregular movements.

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Correspondence to Song Chunhui.

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Song, C., Fang, X., Li, J. et al. Tectonic uplift and sedimentary evolution of the Jiuxi Basin in the northern margin of the Tibetan Plateau since 13 Ma BP. Sci. China Ser. D-Earth Sci. 44 (Suppl 1), 192–202 (2001).

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