The approximately north-south trending Cenozoic Yadong-Gulu rift (YGR) in the eastern Lhasa block is an ideal location to investigate the extensional kinematic mechanism of the upper crust and the deformation characteristics of the Indian lithospheric slab in southern Tibet. The magnetotelluric (MT) method has been widely used in probing subsurface structures at lithospheric scale and is sensitive to high electrically conductive body (conductor). A three-dimensional (3-D) inversion of MT data was conducted to derive the east-west electrical structures across the northern segment of the YGR. The result reveals that the conductors in the middle crust are not continuous in the east-west direction. The deep conductor underneath the YGR is interpreted to result from the tearing of the Indian lithospheric slab. The upper crust to the east of the YGR is significantly intruded by underlying conductors. Based on the features of the 3-D inversion result from this study and other geophysical observations, the formation of the YGR is most likely caused by tearing of the Indian lithospheric slab through the pull of mid-lower crustal conductors that have locally weak strength beneath the YGR.
- Yadong-Gulu rift
- extensional kinematic mechanism
- Indian lithospheric slab
- three dimensional inversion