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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2018-64
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Review article 18 Jun 2018

Review article | 18 Jun 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

Three main stages in the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau during the Cenozoic period and its possible effects on Asian aridification: A review

Zhixiang Wang1,2, Yongjin Shen1,2, and Zhibin Pang3 Zhixiang Wang et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental Geology, School of Earth Sciences, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
  • 2Laboratory of Critical Zone Evolution, School of Earth Sciences, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
  • 3Shanxi Geological Survey Institute

Abstract. The Tibetan Plateau uplift and its linkages with the evolution of the Asian climate during the Cenozoic are a research focus for numerous geologists. Here, a comprehensive review of tectonic activities across the Tibet shows that the development of the Tibetan Plateau has undergone mainly three stages of the uplift: the near-modern elevation of the central Tibet and significant uplift of the northern margins (~55–35Ma), the further uplift of the plateau margins (30–20Ma), and a rapid uplift of the plateau margins again (15–8Ma). The first uplift of the plateau during ~55–35Ma forced the long-term westward retreat of the Paratethys Sea. The high elevation of the central Tibet and/or the Himalayan would enhance rock weathering and erosion contributing to lowering of atmospheric CO2 content, resulting in global cooling. The global cooling, sea retreat coupled with the topographic barrier effect of the Tibetan Plateau could have caused the initial aridification in central Asia during the Eocene time. The second uplift of the northern Tibet could have resulted in the onset of the East Asian winter monsoon as well as intensive desertification of inland Asia, whereas the central-eastern in China became wet. The further strengthening of the East Asian winter monsoon and the inland Asian aridification during 15–8Ma was probably associated with the Tibetan Plateau uplift and global cooling. Therefore, the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau plays a very important role in the Asian aridification.

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Short summary
In this paper, we propose three main stages of the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau and meanwhile its possible effects on Asian aridification. Three main stages of the uplift contain significant uplift of the northern margins (~ 55–35 Ma), the sharp uplift of the plateau margins (30–20 Ma), and a rapid uplift of the plateau margins again (15–8 Ma). These three stages of the uplift had a series of potential effects on Asian aridification.
In this paper, we propose three main stages of the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau and meanwhile...
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