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  1. Eclogite bodies exposed across Tibet record a history of subduction-collision events that preceded growth of the Tibetan Plateau. Deciphering the time-space patterns of eclogite generation improves our knowledge of the preconditions for Cenozoic orogeny in Tibet and broader eclogite formation and/or exhumation processes. Here we report the discovery of Permo-Triassic eclogite in northern Tibet. U-Pb zircon dating and thermobarometry suggest eclogite-facies metamorphism at ca. 262–240 Ma at peak pressures of ∼2.5 GPa. Inherited zircons and geochemistry show the eclogite was derived from an upper-plate continental protolith, which must have experienced subduction erosion to transport the protolith mafic bodies to eclogite-forming conditions. The Dabie eclogites to the east experienced a similar history, and we interpret that these two coeval eclogite exposures formed by subduction erosion of the upper plate and deep trench burial along the same ∼3000-km-long north-dipping Permo-Triassic subduction complex. We interpret the synchroneity of eclogitization along the strike length of the subduction zone to have been driven by accelerated plate convergence due to ca. 260 Ma Emeishan plume impingement. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 28, 2024
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  3. The Proterozoic−Phanerozoic tectonic evolution of the Qilian Shan, Qaidam Basin, and Eastern Kunlun Range was key to the construction of the Asian continent, and understanding the paleogeography of these regions is critical to reconstructing the ancient oceanic domains of central Asia. This issue is particularly important regarding the paleogeography of the North China-Tarim continent and South China craton, which have experienced significant late Neoproterozoic rifting and Phanerozoic deformation. In this study, we integrated new and existing geologic field observations and geochronology across northern Tibet to examine the tectonic evolution of the Qilian-Qaidam-Kunlun continent and its relationships with the North China-Tarim continent to the north and South China craton to the south. Our results show that subduction and subsequent collision between the Tarim-North China, Qilian-Qaidam-Kunlun, and South China continents occurred in the early Neoproterozoic. Late Neoproterozoic rifting opened the North Qilian, South Qilian, and Paleo-Kunlun oceans. Opening of the South Qilian and Paleo-Kunlun oceans followed the trace of an early Neoproterozoic suture. The opening of the Paleo-Kunlun Ocean (ca. 600 Ma) occurred later than the opening of the North and South Qilian oceans (ca. 740−730 Ma). Closure of the North Qilian and South Qilian oceans occurred in the Early Silurian (ca. 440 Ma), whereas the final consumption of the Paleo-Kunlun Ocean occurred in the Devonian (ca. 360 Ma). Northward subduction of the Neo-Kunlun oceanic lithosphere initiated at ca. 270 Ma, followed by slab rollback beginning at ca. 225 Ma evidenced in the South Qilian Shan and at ca. 194 Ma evidenced in the Eastern Kunlun Range. This tectonic evolution is supported by spatial trends in the timing of magmatism and paleo-crustal thickness across the Qilian-Qaidam-Kunlun continent. Lastly, we suggest that two Greater North China and South China continents, located along the southern margin of Laurasia, were separated in the early Neoproterozoic along the future Kunlun-Qinling-Dabie suture. 
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  4. Carosi, Rodolfo ; da Costa Campos Neto, Mario ; Fossen, Hakkon ; Montomoli, Chiara ; Simonetti, Matteo ; Martinez-Frias, Jesus (Ed.)
    North-trending rifts throughout south-central Tibet provide an opportunity to study the dynamics of synconvergent extension in contractional orogenic belts. In this study, we present new data from the Dajiamang Tso rift, including quantitative crustal thickness estimates calculated from trace/rare earth element zircon data, U-Pb geochronology, and zircon-He thermochronology. These data constrain the timing and rates of exhumation in the Dajiamang Tso rift and provide a basis for evaluating dynamic models of synconvergent extension. Our results also provide a semi-continuous record of Mid-Cretaceous to Miocene evolution of the Himalayan-Tibetan orogenic belt along the India-Asia suture zone. We report igneous zircon U-Pb ages of ~103 Ma and 70–42 Ma for samples collected from the Xigaze forearc basin and Gangdese Batholith/Linzizong Formation, respectively. Zircon-He cooling ages of forearc rocks in the hanging wall of the Great Counter thrust are ~28 Ma, while Gangdese arc samples in the footwalls of the Dajiamang Tso rift are 16–8 Ma. These data reveal the approximate timing of the switch from contraction to extension along the India-Asia suture zone (minimum 16 Ma). Crustal-thickness trends from zircon geochemistry reveal possible crustal thinning (to ~40 km) immediately prior to India-Eurasia collision onset (58 Ma). Following initial collision, crustal thickness increases to 50 km by 40 Ma with continued thickening until the early Miocene supported by regional data from the Tibetan Magmatism Database. Current crustal thickness estimates based on geophysical observations show no evidence for crustal thinning following the onset of E–W extension (~16 Ma), suggesting that modern crustal thickness is likely facilitated by an underthrusting Indian lithosphere balanced by upper plate extension. 
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    The growth history and formation mechanisms of the Cenozoic Tibetan Plateau are the subject of an intense debate with important implications for understanding the kinematics and dynamics of large-scale intracontinental deformation. Better constraints on the uplift and deformation history across the northern plateau are necessary to address how the Tibetan Plateau was constructed. To this end, we present updated field observations coupled with low-temperature thermochronology from the Qaidam basin in the south to the Qilian Shan foreland in the north. Our results show that the region experienced a late Mesozoic cooling event that is interpreted as a result of tectonic deformation prior to the India-Asia collision. Our results also reveal the onset of renewed cooling in the Eocene in the Qilian Shan region along the northern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, which we interpret to indicate the timing of initial thrusting and plateau formation along the plateau margin. The interpreted Eocene thrusting in the Qilian Shan predates Cenozoic thrust belts to the south (e.g., the Eastern Kunlun Range), which supports out-of-sequence rather than northward-migrating thrust belt development. The early Cenozoic deformation exploited the south-dipping early Paleozoic Qilian suture zone as indicated by our field mapping and the existing geophysical data. In the Miocene, strike-slip faulting was initiated along segments of the older Paleozoic suture zones in northern Tibet, which led to the development of the Kunlun and Haiyuan left-slip transpressional systems. Late Miocene deformation and uplift of the Hexi corridor and Longshou Shan directly north of the Qilian Shan thrust belt represent the most recent phase of outward plateau growth. 
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