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.
Figures & Tables
The geological evolution of Central Asia commenced with the formation of a complex Precambrian–Palaeozoic orogen. Cimmerian blocks were then accreted to the southern margin in the Mesozoic, leading to tectonic reactivation of older structures and discrete episodes of basin formation. The Indian and Arabian blocks collided with Asia in the Cenozoic, leading to renewed structural reactivation, intracontinental deformation and basin development.
This complex evolution resulted in the present-day setting of an elongated Tien Shan range flanked by large Mesozoic–Cenozoic sedimentary basins with smaller intramontane basins distributed within the range.
This volume presents multidisciplinary results and reviews from research groups in Europe and Central Asia that focus on the western part of the Tien Shan and some of the adjacent large sedimentary basins. These works elucidate the Late Palaeozoic–Cenozoic tectono-sedimentary evolution of the area. Emphasis is given to the collision of terranes and continents and the ensuing fault reactivations. The impact of climatic changes on sedimentation is also examined.