Tibetan uplift
At the INQUA Congress in Peijing in 1991, Mörner organised a symposium on “The Tibetan Uplift”. It was concluded that the main uplift had occurred in the last 3.0 ma. Later, Mörner summarised the information of the Tibetan uplift as well as crustal movements elsewhere in the last 3.0 ma, and proposed that the period was so characteristic with respect to strong crustal movement that it merited the term “the Neotectonic Period”.

The Beijing 1991 symposium: A symmary
During the 13th INQUA Congress in Beijing, August 2-9, 1991, a symposium was held on "The Uplift of the Tibetan Plateau" (with the present author as convenor).
The Tibetan Plateau is the largest high-plateau in the world. It is located at about Lat. 30-40o N and covers some 30-40 longitudinal degrees: i.e. about 1/9 of the Earth's equatorial circle. The average elevation is in the order of 4000-5000 m with many peaks reaching well above 7000 m and a few even 8000 m. It is known as "the roof of the world".
During the last years the Tibetan Uplift has become interesting in a new perspective. At around 2.5 Ma ago, the Milankovitch insolation variables suddenly started to generate alternations between glacials (ice ages) and interglacials. It has been proposed that the formation of a high Tibetan Plateau caused a general atmospheric circulation change so that the Milankovitch variables from that time onwards were able to generate glacial/interglacial alternations (but were not able to do so before that stage).
During the Beijing symposium, it became clear that the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau was not a long-term uniform process but essentially had occurred by intensified step-wise uplifting in the last 3.0-2.5 Ma.
Chen Xuebo spoke about "the origin of the Tibetan Plateau which has been uplifted by violent compression since 2.5 Ma before present".
Li Jijun claimed that an intense upheaval of the plateau occurred at about 2 Ma ago and that this was "the starting factor to induce Asian monsoon" and loess deposition. He identified four main pulses in the uplift beginning at around 2-1.5, 1.0, 0.6 and 0.15 Ma ago.
Williams et al. showed that "sedimentation dramatically increased in Qaidam Basin" during the periods 2.4-1.6 Ma and 0.8-0.6 Ma ago which they attributed to "rapid uplifting of the Tibetan Plateau".
Liu Chenglin identified the onset of slow uplifting at about 15 Ma with the major uplift taking place in four episodes during the last 2.8 Ma; viz. 2.8-2.0, 1.6-1.1, 0.8/0.4-0.16 and 0.03-0 Ma BP (the last phase of uplift must apparently be longer than the last 30 Ka; probably to some infinite radiocarbone dates)
Zhang Qingsong et al. presented new evidence that "intensive uplifting of the Kunlun-Karakorum Mountains began at the end of Pliocene-early Pleistocene period" and amounted to 2600-3100 m. This induced drastic changes of the environmental conditions.
Nikonov and Pakhonov used botanical evidence to show that the uplift of the Pamirs Highlands occurred in two main phases; (1) 3.0-2.5 Ma the area was uplifted 1 km at a mean rate of about 2 mm/yr, and (2) during the last 0.3-0.4 Ma the area was uplifted 1.5 km at a mean rate of about 4 mm/yr.
Zhang Qingsong et al. reported the results of repeated levelling in the Tibetan Plateau. They showed that "main parts of the Plateau is still going up with mean rates of 5.8 mm/a". This is in full agreement with the proposition that the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau primarily took part in the last 2–3 million years
Qian Fang had undertaken magnetostratigraphic analyses of Hipparion beds. The studies enabled him to show that the main uplift is younger than 4.9 Ma and may have culminated in the last 1.5 Ma.
Taken together, our symposium effectively demonstrated that available information (previously only fragmentarily known outside China) indicates that the Tibetan Plateau is much younger than generally assumed and now can be dated at about 3.0–2.5 Ma. Later, it has become clear that this rapid and young Tibetan uplifting is a part of a general intensification of global geodynamics in the last 3 Ma. Furthermore, there is a clear link between the initial main uplift phase 3.0–2.5 Ma ago and the onset of Asian monsoon and general climatic change within the region including the change from red clay formation to onset of loess deposition at the Gauss/Matuyama boundary 2.5 Ma ago.

Additional notes
In opposite to the views presented in the symposium, many researchers have previously assumed that the Tibetan uplift is a long term process that spanned several tens of millions of years (e.g. Ruddiman et al., 1989; Turner et al., 1993).
In agreement with the present documentation of an uplift that primarily is confined to the last 3 Ma, there are a number of previous observations and statements. He & He (1987) and Iwata (1987) used tilted surfaces to demonstrate a Quaternary age of the main uplift. Zheng (1989) gave a general review of available data on uplift and glaciations, and showed that the main uplift refters to the period after the pre-glacial Pliocene. Burbank (1992) showed that the sedimentary deposition south of the Himalyas shifted direction of accumulation in the Pliocene indicating the onset of rapid uplifting.
Below, we cite the abstract of Zheng (1989) and reproduce a redrafted version of one of his figures (Fig. 1): "Although the succession of glaciations and interglaciations in the Himalayas and the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau was mainly controlled by global climatic change, large scale and rapid uplift was an important influence on glacier development. It significantly altered the atmospheric circulation not only of the region itself but of the whole hemisphere. Four models of Quaternary glaciation are described with reference to evidence on both sides of the Himalaya. On the north side, the most extensive glaciation occurred during the Nieniexongla stage of the Middle Pleistocene but, on the south side, the largest glacial cover occurred during the early part of the Upper Pleistocene. A major ice sheet covering the whole of the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau can be ruled out on the basis of geological evidence and climatological theory, although many medium-sized ice caps developed on the ranges which rise above the Plateau".

Fig. 2-5-1. Uplift of the Himalaya-Tibetean region (based on Fig. 12 of Zheng, 1989); N2 gives the surface prior to 3 Ma, Q2 gives the level after the first uplift pulse 3.0-2.5 Ma ago, and Q4 gives the present level with associated snowline (thick line).

The new global tectonic regime and the initiation of Ice Ages
When Artyushkov was introduced to this concept of a new global tectonic regime in the last 3.0 ma, he called this “the most powerful phenomenon in the last 100 ma”. And, indeed, so it seems to be; we have moved into a new orogenic phase or “the Neotectonic Period”. Much of the data are presented in my paper “Neotectonics, the new global tectonic regime during the last 3 ma and the initiation of Ice Ages” published in An. Acad. Bras. Ci. (1993) 65 (Supl. 2) 295-301, which follows below as pdf-file.


Pdf 2-5 + figures 1-4 6 Tabell 1 (88k)

References (from P&G)
Mörner, N.-A., 1991. Uplift of the Tibetan Plateau. An introduction. Abstracts, INQUA XII Congr, Beijing, p. 244.
Mörner, N.-A., 1991. Uplift of the Tibetan Plateau. A short review. INQUA Spec. Proc. Rew. Rep., p. 78-81. Beijing.
Mörner, N.-A., 1992. Uplift of the Tibetan Plateau. INQUA Comptes Rendus, p. 000.
Mörner, N.-A., 1992. Tibetan uplift and global climatic-geodynamic changes. Bull. INQUA Neotectonics Comm., 15, 64.
Mörner, N.-A., 1992. The Tibetan uplift and global climatic and geodynamic changes. Abstracts, 29th IGC, Kypto, p. 28.
Mörner, N.-A., 1994. Neotectonics in vew perspectives. Bull. INQUA Neotectonics Comm., 17, 63-65.
Mörner, N.-A., 1995. Neotectonics. The global tectonic regiment during the last 3 ma and the initiation of ice ages. Ann. Brazilian Acad. Sci., 65 (1993), p. 295-301.
Mörner, N.-A., 1995. Neotectonics in new perspectives: the last 3.0 ma. Abstracts, INQUA XIII Congr., Berlin, Symp. 58.
Mörner, N.-A., 1996. New trends in global tectonics. Bull. INQUA Neotectonics Comm., 19, 15-19.
Mörner, N.-A., 1998. New trends in global tectonics. Phys. Chem. Earth., 23, 825-830.
Mörner, N.-A., 1998. Neotectonics and global climate. Abstracts, EUG, Nice, Ann. Geophys., 16, I, C22.