International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 108, Issue 1, pp 27–48 | Cite as

Paleogene sedimentation changes in Lenghu Area, Qaidam Basin in response to the India–Eurasia collision

  • Rui Zhao
  • Si Chen
  • Hua WangEmail author
  • Detian Yan
  • Haiyang Cao
  • Yin Gong
  • Jie He
  • Zhixiong Wu
Original Paper


The Cenozoic India–Eurasia collision is evidently recorded in the Qaidam Basin, which is located in the north margin of the Tibetan Plateau. The present study describes a dextrorotary phenomenon at the end of the Eocene in Lenghu Area in the northern Qaidam Basin, discovered in sedimentary and tectonic records. This phenomenon is interpreted to have been a result of the levorotatory movement along the Altyn Tagh Fault (ATF) based on the following evidence. First, provenance, as analyzed by heavy mineral assemblages, was slightly deflected from southwestward to the westward by about 45°. Second, paleocurrent inferred from dip logging and seismic reflection changed clockwise by approximately 25°. Third, there is evidence of increases in fault activity in the area, especially in northwest–southeast-trending branches relative to older west–east-trending branches. Increases in faulting coincide with abrupt increases in sediment supply in the Oligocene, after earlier decreases based on total sand content during the Eocene. Our results demonstrate that the northern margin of the Tibetan Plateau synchronously responded to the initiation and termination of the India–Eurasia collision. The levorotatory strike slip of the ATF was immediately triggered by the complete collision at the end of Eocene, and the strike-slip movement caused the dextrorotary phenomenon in the Lenghu Area.


Lenghu Area Dextrorotary transpression Altyn Tagh Fault Qaidam Basin India–Eurasia collision 



This project is supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan; No. CUG170616) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41702114). We appreciate Qinghai Oilfield Company for providing the data and for its permission to publish this study. We thank Jianrong Tang, Jinfeng Ren and Chengcheng Zhang for beneficial discussions. We are very grateful to the journal editor (Prof. Wolf-Christian Dullo), two anonymous reviewers, and the Springer Nature Corrections Team.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Earth ResourcesChina University of GeosciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Tectonics and Petroleum ResourcesChina University of Geosciences, Ministry of EducationWuhanChina
  3. 3.Chengdu University of TechnologyChengduChina
  4. 4.Qinghai Oilfield Company, Petro ChinaDunhuangChina

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