The Kailas conglomerates crop out ubiquitously along the southernmost boundary of the Gangdese batholith. They unconformably overlie the Gangdese batholith and are displaced by the Great Counter thrust (GCT) fault, forming a fault contact with the Xigaze forearc basin, the associated subduction complex and the Tethyan Himalayan sequence. These strata furnish a record of uplift and paleoenvironmental change in the Indus-Yarlung suture zone during the Oligocene-Miocene. Our new and previously published low-temperature thermochronometric data from the Gangdese batholith and the Kailas conglomerates indicate a period of rapid exhumation beginning approximately 17–15Ma centered on the southern margin of the Gangdese batholith, whereas regional uplift commenced significantly earlier during the deposition of the Kailas conglomerates, based on the presence of an abrupt facies transition from deep-water lacustrine deposits to red alluvial fan or fluvial deposits. The period of rapid exhumation probably lagged behind the initiation of faster uplift, while the related changes in the depositional environment were most likely recorded immediately in the basin stratigraphy. Subsequently, the Kailas conglomerates were buried in association with the development of the north-directed Great Counter thrust, while rapid exhumation was facilitated by efficient incision by the paleo-Yarlung river at approximately 17–15Ma.
Tectonophysics – Elsevier
Published: Jan 16, 2018
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