The early Eocene rise of the Gonjo Basin, SE Tibet: From low desert to high forest

Zhongyu Xiong, Ding Lin*, RA Spicer, Alexander J Farnsworth, Xu Wang, Paul J Valdes, Qinghai Zhang, Liyun Zhang, Fulong Cai, Houqi Wang, Zhenyu Li, Peiping Song, Xudong Guo, Yahui Yue

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)
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Views differ on the uplift history of the SE Tibetan Plateau and causal geodynamic mechanisms, yet reliable age-constrained paleoaltimetry in this region could test growth models of the entire plateau. Here we apply carbonate clumped isotope thermometry to well-dated carbonate paleosols and marls in the Gonjo Basin, SE Tibet, to reveal the topographic evolution of the basin. The sedimentary ages of carbonates of the lower and upper Ranmugou Formation are constrained to 54-50 Ma and 44-40 Ma, respectively. The temperature derived from carbonate clumped isotope thermometry indicates the mean annual air temperature (MAAT) of the Gonjo Basin in the early Eocene was ∼24 °C, which is consistent with the warm climate indicated by palm fossils. The MAAT of the basin in the middle Eocene was ∼7 °C, 17 °C cooler than in the early Eocene. Carbonate clumped oxygen isotope thermometry-based …
Original languageEnglish
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • geology
  • Tibet


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