Date: January 28, 2005
Creator: Ryerson, F J; Tapponnier, P; Finkel, R C; Meriaux, A; der Woerd, J V; Lasserre, C et al.
Description: The Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau were formed as a result of the collision of India and Asia, and provide an excellent opportunity to study the mechanical response of the continental lithosphere to tectonic stress. Geophysicists are divided in their views on the nature of this response advocating either (1) homogeneously distributed deformation with the lithosphere deforming as a fluid continuum or (2) deformation is highly localized with the lithosphere that deforms as a system of blocks. The resolution of this issue has broad implications for understanding the tectonic response of continental lithosphere in general. Homogeneous deformation is supported by relatively low decadal, geodetic slip-rate estimates for the Altyn Tagh and Karakorum Faults. Localized deformation is supported by high millennial, geomorphic slip-rates constrained by both cosmogenic and radiocarbon dating on these faults. Based upon the agreement of rates determined by radiocarbon and cosmogenic dating, the overall linearity of offset versus age correlations, and on the plateau-wide correlation of landscape evolution and climate history, the disparity between geomorphic and geodetic slip-rate determinations is unlikely to be due to the effects of surface erosion on the cosmogenic age determinations. Similarly, based upon the consistency of slip-rates over various observation intervals, secular variations ...
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