Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tibetan Plateau

Tibetan Plateau - uplift in stages

Photo: Xixi Zhao

When the central part of the Tibetan plateau was uplifted more than 40 million years ago, Mount Everest and the rest of the Himalayas were still part of a deep ocean basin. Today the average altitude of the Tibetan Plateau is higher than 4500 meters (14,850 feet).

Information about the pace of the uplift is important for climate change studies: The rise of the Tibetan Plateau led to dramatic changes in the climate, both regionally and globally. For climate researchers trying to understand major episodes of global climate change in Earth's past, the timing of the uplift is a crucial piece of information.

Continuous monitoring of the uplift is possible today due to development of space geodesy techniques like Global Positioning System (GPS). Combining the geological history (uplift) and todays geodetic monitoring will improve our knowledge substantially.

GPS equipment at Namtso lake, Tibetan plateau


Photo: Bente Lilja Bye

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