Science in China Series D: Earth Sciences

, Volume 48, Issue 8, pp 1158–1164 | Cite as

The upper mantle structure of the Tibetan Plateau and its implication for the continent-continent collision

  • Qingju WuEmail author
  • Rongsheng Zeng
  • Wenjin Zhao


The upper mantle structures of Himalayas-Tibet have been obtained from the migration of receiver functions of the teleseismic events recorded by INDEPTH-III. The result of migration imaging shows a dipping interface subducting northward from the depth of 100 km to the 410-km discontinuity underneath southern Tibet. It indicates that the lithospheric mantle of the Indian continent had been detached from the crust and deeply subducted to the upper mantle of Eurasia during the Indo-Eurasian collision. This kind of continent-continent collision process is fundamentally different from the oceanic collision.


Tibetan Plateau receiver function upper mantle structures Indo-Eurasian collision dipping interface 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Yin, A., Harrison, T. M., Geological evolution of the Himalaya-Tibetan orogeny, Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci., 2000, 28: 211–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lsacks, B. L., Oliver, L., Sykes, R., Seismology and the new global tectonics, J. Geophys. Res., 1968, 73: 5885–5900.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    England, P. C., Houseman, G. A., Finite strain calculations of continental deformation, 2, comparison with the India-Asia collision, J. Geophys. Res., 1986, 91: 3664–3676.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Houseman, G.. A., England, P. C., A crustal-thickening model for the Indo-Asian collision, in the Tectonic Evolution of Asia ((eds. Yin, A., Harrison, T. M.), New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1996, 1–17.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Tapponnier, P., Molnar, P., Active faulting and tectonics in China, J. Geophys. Res., 1997, 82: 2905–2930.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Fu, R. S., Li, L. G., Huang, J. H. et al., Three-step model of the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau uplift, Chinese J. Geophys. (in Chinese), 1999, 42: 609–616.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Fu, R. S., Xu, Y. M., Huang, J. H. et al., Numerical simulation of the compression uplift of the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau, Chinese J. Geophys. (in Chinese), 2000, 43: 346–355.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Seeber, L., Ambruster, J. G., Quittmeyer, R. C., Seismicity and continental subduction in Himalayan arc, in Zagros, Hindu Kush, Himalaya, Geodynamic Evolution, Geodyn. Ser., Vol. 3 (eds. Gupta, H. K., Delany, F. M.), Washington: AGU, 1981, 215–242.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Barazangi, M., Ni, J., Propagation characteristics of Pn beneath the Himalayan and Tibetan plateau: possible evidence for underthrusting of Indian continental lithosphere beneath Tibet, Geology, 1982, 10: 179–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ni, J., Barazangi, M., Seismotectonics of the Himalayan collision zone: Geometry of the underthrusting Indian plate beneath the Himalaya, J. Geophys. Res., 1984, 89: 1147–1163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mattauer, M., Intracontinental subduction, crust mantle decollement and crustal stacking wedge in the Himalaya and other collision belts, in Collision Tectonics ((eds. Coward, M. P., Ries, A. C.), London: Geol. Soc. Spec. Publ., 19, 1986, 35–60.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Beghoul, N., Barazangi, M., Isacks, B. L., Lithosphere structure of Tiber and western North America: Mechanics of uplift and a comparative study, J. Geophys. Res., 1993, 98: 1997–2016.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Matte, Ph., Mattauer, M., Oliver, J. M. et al., Continental subductions beneath Tibet and the Himalayan orogeny: a review, Terra nova, 1997, 9: 264–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Owens, T. J. Zandt, G.., Implications of crustal property variations for model of Tibetan Plateau evolution, Nature, 1997, 387: 37–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    McKenzie, D. P., Speculation on the consequences and causes of plate motions, Geophys. J. Roy. Astr. Soc., 1969, 18: 1–32.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Willett, S., Beaumont, C., Fullsack, P., Mechanical model for the tectonics of doubly vergent compression orogens, Geology, 1993, 21: 371–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hirn, A., Lepine, J. C., Jobert, G. et al., A crustal structure and variability of Himalaya border of Tibet, Nature, 1984, 307: 23–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hirn, A., Nercessian, A., Sapin, M. et al., Lhasa block and bordering sutures-a continuation of a 500 km Moho traverse through Tibet, Nature, 1984, 307: 25–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Brown, L. D., Zhao, W., Nelson, K. D. et al., Bright spots, structure and magmatism in southern Tibet from INDEPTH seismic reflection profiling, Science, 1996, 274: 1688–1690.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Zhao, W. J., Nelson, K. D., Xu, Z. X. et al., Double intracontinental underthrusting structure of the Yarlung Zangbo suture and different molten layers-a comprehensive study of INDEPTH’s results,Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Wu, Q. J., Zeng, R. S., The crustal structure of the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau inferred from broadband teleseismic waveforms, Chinese J. Geophys. (in Chinese), 1998, 41: 669–679.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Kind, R., Yuan, X., Saul, J. et al., Seismic Images of Crust and Upper Mantle beneath Tibet: Evidence for Eurasian plate subduction, Science, 2002, 298: 1219–1221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Kosarev, G.., Kind, R., Sobolev, S. V. et al., Seismic evidence for a detached Indian lithospheric mantle beneath Tibet, Science, 1998, 283: 1306–1309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Zeng, R. S., Ding, Z. F., Wu, Q. J. et al, Seismological evidences for the multiple incomplete crustal subductions in Himalaya and southern Tibet, Chinese J. Geophys. (in Chinese), 2000, 43: 780–797.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Brandon, C., Romanowicz, B., A “no-lid” zone in the central Chang-Tang platform of Tibet: Evidence from pure path phase velocity measurements of long-period Rayleigh waves, J. Geophys. Res., 1986, 91: 6547–6564.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Holt, W., Wallace, T., Crustal thickness and upper mantle velocities in the Tibetan Plateau region from the inversion of Pnl waveforms: Evidence for a thick upper mantle lid beneath southern Tibet, J. Geophys. Res., 1990, 95: 12, 499–12, 525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Molnar, P., A review of geophysical constraints on the deep structure of the Tibetan Plateau the Himalaya and the Karakoram, and their tectonic interpretation, Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London. Ser. A, 1988, 357–396.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Turner, S., Hawksworth, J., Rogers, N. et al., Timing of the Tibetan uplift constrained by analysis of volcanic rocks, Nature, 1993, 364: 50–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Science in China Press 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of GeophysicsChina Earthquake AdministrationBeijingChina
  2. 2.Institute of GeologyChina Academy of Geological SciencesBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations