Tectonic and sedimentary basin evolution of the eastern Bangong-Nujiang zone (Tibet): A reading cycle

Werner Schneider, Frank Mattern*, Pu Jun Wang, Cai Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


The ophiolite-bearing Bangong-Nujiang zone (BNZ) traversing central Tibet from east to west separates the Qiangtang block in the north from the Lhasa block in the south. Their stratigraphic development indicates that both blocks once formed a continuous continental platform until the Late Triassic. Following Late Paleozoic-Triassic rifting, ocean crust formed between both blocks during the Late Triassic creating the Dongqiao-Naqu basin (DNB) among other basins (Yu et al. 1991). The analysis of the rift flank sequences reveals that rifting was dominated by transtension. The basin was shortened by post-Mid-Cretaceous transpression. Thus, the overall basin evolution represents a Reading cycle despite some active margin processes which gave this cycle a special imprint. Major basin parts were preserved despite transpressional shortening suggesting that the eastern BNZ represents a remnant basin. Our understanding of the DNB solves the prior problem of viewing the BNZ as a Mid-Late Jurassic collisional suture although typical collision-related deformation, thickening, mountain building, as well as related molasse formation are lacking. Our model also explains the scattered linear ophiolite distribution by local transpression of remnant oceanic basin floor without having to consider problematic long range ophiolite thrusting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-254
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Earth Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Bangong-Nujiang zone
  • Basin analysis
  • Ophiolites
  • Reading cycle
  • Tibet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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