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Based upon the seismic experiments along Geoscience Transect from the Altyn Tagh to the Longmen Mountains, the crustal P-wave velocity structure was derived to outline the characteristics of the crustal structure. The section shows a few significant features. The crustal thickness varies dramatically, and is consistent with tectonic settings. The Moho boundary abruptly drops to 73km depth beneath the southern Altyn Tagh from 50km below the Tarim basin, then rises again to about 58km depth beneath the Qaidam basin. Finally, the Moho drops again to about 70km underneath the Songpan-Garze Terrane and rises to 60km near the Longmen Mountains with a step-shape. Further southeast, the crust thins to 52km beneath the Sichuan basin in the southeast of the Longmen Mountains. In the north of the Kunlun fault, a low-velocity zone, which may be a layer of melted rocks due to high temperature and pressure at depth, exists in the the bottom of the middle crust. The two depressions of the Moho correlate with the Qilian and Songpan-Garze terranes, implying that these two mountains have thick roots. According to our results, it is deduced that the thick crust of the northeastern Tibetan Plateau probably is a result of east-west and northwest-southeast crustal shortening since Mesozoic time during the collision between the Asian and Indian plates.
Additional Publication Details
Crustal P-wave velocity structure from Altyn Tagh to Longmen mountains along the Taiwan-Altay geoscience transect
Chinese Journal of Geophysics (Acta Geophysica Sinica)