Extensive field investigations along the Yarlung-Zangbo suture zone in southern Tibet reveal the presence of now fragmented remnants of a south-facing intra-oceanic subduction system. This system developed within Tethys during the Cretaceous. The associated arc, forearc ophiolite, and subduction complex were emplaced onto the leading edge of India at the end of the Cretaceous. Rapid sedimentation in oblique-slip basins and disruption of water-saturated sediments into melange was widespread and concomitant with ophiolite emplacement. We describe the tectonic entities that developed during this previously unrecognized phase of Tethys-Tibet evolution and present a new model for the evolution of this portion of Tibet. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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