Evaluating the size and extent of paleolakes in central Tibetduring the late Pleistocene

Xuhua Shi, Kevin Furlong, Eric Kirby, Kai Meng, Shasta Marrero, John Gosse, Erchie Wang, Fred. M. Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Subhorizontal lake shorelines allow a geodynamic test of the size and extent of a hypothesizedpaleolake in central Tibet, the East Qiangtang Lake (EQL), during the last interglacial period (marine isotope stage (MIS) 5e). Reconstructions based on relict lake deposits suggest that the EQL would have been~400 m deep and over ~66,000 km2. Models of flexural rebound driven by lake recession predict that shorelines near the EQL center, at the present-day location of Siling Co, would have rebounded 60–90 m above their initial elevation. New 36Cl chronology of the highest relict shorelines around Siling Co indicates that they reflect lake levels between 110 and 190 ka. These shorelines, however, are presently>300 m below their predicted elevations, implying a substantially smaller water load. Our results reveal that theexpansion of Tibetan lakes during MIS 5e was relatively limited. Instead, individual lakes were supplied byriver networks, much as they are today
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5476–5485
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number11
Early online date31 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2017


  • paleolake reconstruction
  • crustal rebound
  • shoreline deflection
  • 36Cl cosmogenic nuclides
  • Siling Co
  • central Tibet


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