Testing the Stepwise Growth of the Tibetan Plateau: A Sedimentologic and Stable Isotopic Study

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Fall 2009

Project Description/Abstract

I propose to conduct research on the northern region of the Tibetan Plateau with the aim of deciphering its uplift history since the collision of India with Eurasia ~55 million years ago. Because of its relatively recent development in geologic time, this mountain belt offers an ideal field laboratory for studying the dynamics of how mountains grow. The proposed study area lies in an intermediate point geographically between studies that have determined the timing of mountain growth in the central plateau and along its northern margin, and thus is key to testing a hypothesis of the northward development of the Tibetan Plateau through time. In order to accomplish this I will use both sedimentologic and oxygen isotopic study of three sedimentary basin successions that preserve a ~55 million year history of the development of adjacent mountain ranges. Because of this study area’s location on the Tibetan Plateau, understanding its topographic evolution will aid in understanding how collisional deformation has been accommodated deep within the earth, and ultimately the processes that drive mountain building.

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