Regional evolution and extensional sedimentary basins
During the Late Palaeozoic–Mesozoic, Central Asia and Tibet were affected by several geodynamic episodes that induced either large-scale compression or widespread extension. The Late Palaeozoic final amalgamation of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt, the accretion of the Cimmerian blocks, the closure of the Mongol–Okhotsk Ocean and the accretion of the Neocimmerian blocks set the structural pattern of the continent. This Mesozoic tectonic heritage plays a first-order role in the localization and evolution of the Tertiary deformation of the continent. Similarly, large-scale Mesozoic topographic features are still preserved in Central Asia, where they form a non-negligible part of the present-day topography. This work aims at providing an overview of the major tectonic events that affected Central Asia and Tibet during the Late Palaeozoic and Mesozoic periods. The general topographic evolution of the continent is also described together with the accompanying climatic changes through time.