2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 40-21
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


SAADEH, Crystal, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Houston, 312 Science & Research Building 1, Houston, TX 77204, cmsaadeh@uh.edu

Changes in the Asian Monsoon driven by Tibetan Plateau uplift have been invoked to explain late Miocene–Pliocene biological turnover and increases in erosion and sediment accumulation. However, documentation of pre-Miocene uplift of the plateau and evidence for early appearance of the Asian Monsoon system has called these conclusions into question. We present a high-resolution, long-term record of environmental change at 3.5-4.5 km essential to understanding the impact and causes of monsoon variation. The O and C isotopic record of authigenic carbonate in 566 samples from the Zhada Basin extends from 8.99 to 1.75 Ma. Both the δ18O and stratigraphic record indicate long-term changes in basin hydrology which may reflect the impact of regional tectonics on drainage reorganization. These long-term changes are characterized by an onset of lacustrine deposition coupled with an increase in mean δ18O values at 6.11 Ma followed by a return to palustrine/fluvial deposition and a decrease in mean δ18O values at 3.24 Ma. These Miocene-early Pleistocene Zhada Basin results mimic late Pleistocene–Holocene paleoclimatic records across the Tibetan Plateau suggesting similar driving mechanisms. Frequency analysis of the δ18O record reveals that Milankovitch cycles are recorded in the Zhada Basin; suggesting that insolation-driven climate change drove high-frequency environmental changes in the southern Tibetan Plateau. Counterintuitively, non-stationary frequency analysis of the δ18O record indicates strengthening in the 100 kyr (eccentricity) band: coincident with initial onset of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation, but ~2.4 Myr prior to strengthening in the marine record. The discrepancy between marine and high-elevation records suggests that changes in the character of the Indian Summer Monsoon may be responding to cooling in the Pacific Ocean, and may be responsible for widespread mid-Pliocene changes observed on the peripheries of the Tibetan Plateau.