Crustal-scale structure of South Tien Shan: Implications for subduction polarity and Cenozoic reactivation
C. Loury, Y. Rolland, S. Guillot, A. V. Mikolaichuk, P. Lanari, O. Bruguier, D. Bosch, 2017. "Crustal-scale structure of South Tien Shan: Implications for subduction polarity and Cenozoic reactivation", Geological Evolution of Central Asian Basins and the Western Tien Shan Range, M.-F Brunet, T. McCann, E. R. Sobel
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Based on new structural and petrological investigations, we present two crustal-scale cross-sections of the Kyrgyz South Tien Shan, and correlations of main faults and units between Kyrgyzstan and China. The overall structure corresponds to a doubly-vergent mountain belt. The Kyrgyz and Chinese areas exhibit identical structural and metamorphic histories. To the west, the Atbashi Range comprises high-pressure oceanic and continental units stacked by north-verging thrusts above a low metamorphic accretionary prism. High-pressure (HP) gneisses are bound to their south by a south-dipping detachment exhibiting mantle relicts. The high-pressure oceanic and continental units underwent similar pressure–temperature (P–T) paths with peak conditions of around 500 °C–20 kbar, followed by rapid exhumation. The overall south-dipping structure and kinematics indicate a south-dipping subduction of the Central Tien Shan Ocean at 320–310 Ma, ending with the docking of the Tarim block to the Kazakh continent. To the east, the Pobeda Massif shows a narrow push-up structure. A major north-vergent thrust exhumes deep-crustal-level granulites, constituting the highest summits, which were thrust towards the north onto low-grade Devonian–Carboniferous schists. The southern part of South Tien Shan is made up of a south-verging thrust stack that formed later during ongoing convergence, reactivated throughout post-30 Ma phases.
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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.