Published by the American Geophysical Union as part of the Geophysical Monograph Series, Volume 149.
The study of the complex interactions between continents and oceans has become a leading area for 21st century earth cience. In this volume, continent—ocean interactions in tectonics, arc-continent collision, sedimentology, and climatic volution within the East Asian Marginal Seas take precedence. Links between oceanic and continental climate, the sedimentology of coastal and shelf areas, and the links between deformation of continental and oceanic lithosphere are also discussed.
As an introduction to the science presented throughout the volume, Wang discusses many of the possible interactions between the tectonic evolution of Asia and both regional and global climate. He speculates that uplift of central Asia in the Pliocene may have triggered the formation of many of the major rivers that drain north through Siberia into the Arctic Ocean. He also argues that it is the delivery of this fresh water that allows the formation of sea ice in that area and triggered the start of Northern Hemispheric glaciation. This may be one of the most dramatic ways in which Asia has shaped the Earth's climate and represents an alternative to the other competing models that have previously emphasized the role of oceanic gateway closure in Central America. Moreover, his proposal for major uplift of at least part of Tibet and Mongolia as late as the Pliocene, based on the history of drainage evolution in Siberia, supports recent data from the southern Tarim Basin and from the Qilian Shan and Qaidam and Jiuxi Basins in northeast Tibet that indicate surface uplift at that time. Constraining the timing and patterns of Tibetan surface uplift is crucial to testing competing models for strain accommodation in Asia following India—Asia collision.