P and S Wave Tomography Beneath the SE Tibetan Plateau: Evidence for Lithospheric Delamination

Zhouchuan Huang, Liangshu Wang, Mingjie Xu, Dapeng Zhao, Ning Mi, Dayong Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


The SE Tibetan Plateau is located between the eastern Himalayan syntaxis and the stable Yangtze craton; its tectonic evolution is important for understanding the plateau expansion. However, interactions between the plateau and its adjacent subduction zone and craton are still unclear. In this study, we determine updated high-resolution P and S wave tomographic models of the crust and upper mantle beneath the SE Tibetan Plateau. We confirmed the existence of a high-velocity layer in the upper mantle down to 200-km depth beneath the Sichuan basin, the core of the Yangtze craton, representing the stable cratonic root. Another high-velocity body is located beneath Burma, reflecting the subducting Indian slab in the upper mantle and possibly the remnant Burman slab in the mantle transition zone. A strong low-velocity column exists above the high-velocity body in the transition zone and reaches the Moho under the Tengchong volcano. In addition, we find high-velocity fragments in the upper mantle beneath the Yangtze craton and northern Indochina, which may reflect delaminated lithosphere beneath the SE Tibetan Plateau. The lithospheric delamination may be closely related to mantle flow extruded from the high plateau and possible thermal upwelling from the lower mantle. Our results provide new insight into the deep interactions between the Tibetan plateau and its surrounding blocks near the SE plateau margin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10292-10308
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Oct 1


  • ChinArray
  • delamination
  • seismic tomography
  • subduction
  • Tibetan Plateau


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