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Predicting paleoelevation of Tibet and the Himalaya from delta (super 18) O vs. altitude gradients in meteoric water across the Nepal Himalaya



Predicting paleoelevation of Tibet and the Himalaya from delta (super 18) O vs. altitude gradients in meteoric water across the Nepal Himalaya



Earth and Planetary Science Letters 183(1-2): 215-229



The delta (super 18) O value of meteoric water varies with elevation, providing a means to reconstruct paleoelevation if the delta (super 18) O values of paleowater are known. In this study, we determined the delta (super 18) O values of water (delta (super 18) O (sub mw) ) from small tributaries along the Seti River and Kali Gandaki in the Nepal Himalaya. We found that delta (super 18) O (sub mw) values decrease with increasing altitude for both transects. delta (super 18) O (sub mw) vs. altitude along the Kali Gandaki in west-central Nepal fit a second order polynomial curve, consistent with increasing depletion of (super 18) O with increasing elevation, as predicted by a Rayleigh-type fractionation process. This modern delta (super 18) O (sub mw) vs. altitude relationship can be used to constrain paleoelevation from the delta (super 18) O values of Miocene-Pliocene carbonate (delta (super 18) O (sub c) ) deposited in the Thakkhola graben in the southern Tibetan Plateau. Paleoelevations of 3800+ or -480 m to 5900+ or -350 are predicted for the older Tetang Formation and 4500+ or -430 m to 6300+ or -330 m for the younger Thakkhola Formation. These paleoelevation estimates suggest that by approximately 11 Ma the southern Tibetan Plateau was at a similar elevation to modern.

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Accession: 019770376

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DOI: 10.1016/s0012-821x(00)00252-1


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