Formation mechanism of steep convergent intracontinental margins: Insights from numerical modeling

L. Chen, T.V. Gerya, Z. Zhang, Alan Aitken, Z. Li, X. Liang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    14 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The margins surrounding the Tibetan Plateau show some diversity in topographic gradient. The most striking example is the eastern Tibetan margin bordered by the Longmen Shan range, which is characterized by a remarkably steep topography transition between eastern Tibet and the Sichuan Basin. There is significant uncertainty over whether this margin was formed by crustal shortening or lower-crustal flow. To investigate the formation mechanism of steep convergent intracontinental margins, we conducted petrological- thermomechanical numerical simulations based on the lithospheric structure and thermal state of the eastern Tibetan margin. Our numerical experiments demonstrate that a very steep topographic gradient, such as the eastern Tibetan margin, is an inherent characteristic of convergence between a hot and weak lithosphere with thick crust and a cold and strong lithosphere with thin crust. Although lower-crustal flow has potentially contributed to the crustal thickness difference between the two convergent blocks, it is not a prerequisite for the growth of steep convergent intracontinental margin. Rather, the topography at the margin can be explained by a near isostatic response to crustal thickening resulting from shortening. © 2013 American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2000-2005
    JournalGeophysical Research Letters
    Volume40
    Issue number10
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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    convergent margin
    formation mechanism
    margins
    lithosphere
    topography
    crust
    lithospheric structure
    crustal shortening
    crustal thickening
    crustal thickness
    modeling
    plateau
    basin
    simulation
    crusts
    experiment
    gradients
    Tibet
    plateaus
    cold

    Cite this

    Chen, L. ; Gerya, T.V. ; Zhang, Z. ; Aitken, Alan ; Li, Z. ; Liang, X. / Formation mechanism of steep convergent intracontinental margins: Insights from numerical modeling. In: Geophysical Research Letters. 2013 ; Vol. 40, No. 10. pp. 2000-2005.
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    title = "Formation mechanism of steep convergent intracontinental margins: Insights from numerical modeling",
    abstract = "The margins surrounding the Tibetan Plateau show some diversity in topographic gradient. The most striking example is the eastern Tibetan margin bordered by the Longmen Shan range, which is characterized by a remarkably steep topography transition between eastern Tibet and the Sichuan Basin. There is significant uncertainty over whether this margin was formed by crustal shortening or lower-crustal flow. To investigate the formation mechanism of steep convergent intracontinental margins, we conducted petrological- thermomechanical numerical simulations based on the lithospheric structure and thermal state of the eastern Tibetan margin. Our numerical experiments demonstrate that a very steep topographic gradient, such as the eastern Tibetan margin, is an inherent characteristic of convergence between a hot and weak lithosphere with thick crust and a cold and strong lithosphere with thin crust. Although lower-crustal flow has potentially contributed to the crustal thickness difference between the two convergent blocks, it is not a prerequisite for the growth of steep convergent intracontinental margin. Rather, the topography at the margin can be explained by a near isostatic response to crustal thickening resulting from shortening. {\circledC} 2013 American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.",
    author = "L. Chen and T.V. Gerya and Z. Zhang and Alan Aitken and Z. Li and X. Liang",
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    Formation mechanism of steep convergent intracontinental margins: Insights from numerical modeling. / Chen, L.; Gerya, T.V.; Zhang, Z.; Aitken, Alan; Li, Z.; Liang, X.

    In: Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 40, No. 10, 2013, p. 2000-2005.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

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    AU - Chen, L.

    AU - Gerya, T.V.

    AU - Zhang, Z.

    AU - Aitken, Alan

    AU - Li, Z.

    AU - Liang, X.

    PY - 2013

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    AB - The margins surrounding the Tibetan Plateau show some diversity in topographic gradient. The most striking example is the eastern Tibetan margin bordered by the Longmen Shan range, which is characterized by a remarkably steep topography transition between eastern Tibet and the Sichuan Basin. There is significant uncertainty over whether this margin was formed by crustal shortening or lower-crustal flow. To investigate the formation mechanism of steep convergent intracontinental margins, we conducted petrological- thermomechanical numerical simulations based on the lithospheric structure and thermal state of the eastern Tibetan margin. Our numerical experiments demonstrate that a very steep topographic gradient, such as the eastern Tibetan margin, is an inherent characteristic of convergence between a hot and weak lithosphere with thick crust and a cold and strong lithosphere with thin crust. Although lower-crustal flow has potentially contributed to the crustal thickness difference between the two convergent blocks, it is not a prerequisite for the growth of steep convergent intracontinental margin. Rather, the topography at the margin can be explained by a near isostatic response to crustal thickening resulting from shortening. © 2013 American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

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