Subducted front of the Indian continental crust beneath the Tibetan Plateau in the early Eocene

Xiaoping Long*, Chutian Shu, Stephen F. Foley, Xuan Ce Wang, Jie Li

*Corresponding author for this work

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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The immense Tibetan Plateau is a masterpiece of the ongoing India–Asia collision. The timing of the collision is a critical parameter to reconstruct the plateau evolution, but has been not well understood yet. Here, we report a newly discovered Eocene (53.8 Ma) shoshonitic intrusion with the input of Indian continental material in the Yangbajing area of the Lhasa Terrane, south Tibet. The reverse 207Pb/206Pb zoning exhibited by feldspars, the linear isotopic arrays between whole-rock 187Os/188Os and 1/188Os, the in-situ feldspar 208Pb/204Pb and 206Pb/204Pb values, and the in-situ zircon εHf(t) values and δ18O values strongly demonstrate a binary interaction process for the generation of the Yangbajing shoshonitic intrusion. Our Os isotopes further illustrate that the interaction process was dominated by recycled crustal melt assimilating minor mantle melt. In addition, different isotopic systems consistently point to an end-member represented by the underthrust crust slice of Indian continent, which indicates that the Indian lithosphere must have already subducted beneath the Lhasa Terrane at 53.8 Ma. This is also supported by the abrupt isotopic shift toward the enriched values and the composition variation toward the high potassium contents in the subsequent Tibetan magmatism, corresponding to an increasing involvement of the Indian continental crust into the upper plate magmatism. Therefore, the Yangbajing shoshonitic intrusion is one of the earliest known magmatic evidence for the onset of the India–Asia collision.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2022EA002533
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalEarth and Space Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Indian continental crust
  • Indian lithosphere
  • shoshonitic intrusion
  • south Tibet
  • the India–Asia collision


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