Research Areas: Asia


Crossing a bridge in the field near Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, China. photo: Greg Hoke

The ES&T group has been working in the SE margin of the Tibetan Plateau in Yunnan and Sichuan, China in collaboration with Carmala Garzione (U. Rochester), Michael Hren (UConn) and Jing Liu (Chinese EQ Admin.) since 2011 with funding from NSF's Tectonics Program. The goals of our study represent nearly the full diversity of the research group with rich contributions from our collaborators. We collected everything from drops of rain to ancient organic matter as part of this study! The major goal of the study was to determine the Cenozoic elevation history of the SE margin in an effort to test the late Cenozoic lower crustal flow hypothesis. As detailed in a paper in EPSL, we examined lower and upper Cenozoic basins spanning 700 km horizontal distance and 1.5 km of elevation change and determined that the SE corner of Tibet was at or near its present elevation by the Eocene, consistent with resulst from previous studies from central Tibet.

Several very exciting products are in the final stages of data collection and interpretation, including: 

    • Regional paleoclimate from conventional stable isotopes and clumped isotope paleothermometry of Cenozoic lacustrine and pedogenic carbonates (Wissink PhD work)
    • Statistical models for extracting hidden populations in detrital zircon age spectra (Wissink PhD work)
    • River reorganization gleaned through a spatially and temporally diverse suite of detrital zircon samples (Wissink PhD work)
    • Modern stable isotope systematics from a network of 12 precipitation stations deployed in Yunnan and Sichuan (Hoke and Liu).
    • Terrestrial Cosmogenic Nuclide derived erosion rates on and adjacent to the paleolandscape of the SE Tibtean margin (McPhillips postdoc work)
    • TCN burial dating of cave deposits near the first bend of the Yangtze River (McPhillips postdoc work)
    • Modern plant wax isotope-elevation transect between Xishuangbanna and Deqen, China (Hren)
    • Ancient plant wax stable isotopes of the Cenozoic (Hren)

Publications related to the ES&T group's work in China, funded by NSF award EAR-1019427: 
    • Hoke, G. D., Liu-Zeng, J., Hren, M. T., Wissink, G. K., & Garzione, C. N. (2014). Stable isotopes reveal high southeast Tibetan Plateau margin since the Paleogene. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 394(0), 270–278. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2014.03.007

    • Xu, Q., Hoke, G. D., Liu-Zeng, J., Ding, L., Wang, W., & Yang, Y. (2014). Stable isotopes of surface water across the Longmenshan margin of the eastern Tibetan Plateau. Geochem Geophy Geosy, 15(8), 3416–3429. doi:10.1002/2014GC005252

Elevation marker at the mountain pass that connects Deqen with the southern parts of Yunnan. photo: Greg Hoke

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