Fault reactivation and far field effects
Regional strike-slip faults are widely distributed in continental interiors and play a major role in the distribution of far-field deformation due to continental collisions. Constraining the deformation history of the Talas–Fergana Fault (TFF), one of the largest of such faults in the Himalayan deformed interior, is vital to comprehend the hinterland kinematics of the India–Asia collision. New apatite fission track results from the NW Tien Shan define a rapid exhumation event at c. 25 Ma. This event is correlated with a synchronous pulse in the South Tien Shan, implying that both ranges experienced a simultaneous onset of rapid exhumation. We suggest that strike-slip motion along the TFF commenced at c. 25 Ma, facilitating counter-clockwise rotation of the Fergana Basin and enabling exhumation of the linked horsetail splays. Pamir indentation, located south of the Western Tien Shan, is postulated to be underway by c. 20 Ma. Recently published results suggest synchronous strike-slip deformation in the western Tarim Basin and eastern flank of the Pamir. Based on our results and published data, we are able to connect Tarim and Pamir deformation to the onset of TFF slip. We suggest that this pre-existing regional structure was responsible for transferring Pamir-induced shortening to the NW Tien Shan.
Supplementary material: Supplementary material is available at http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/SUP18845
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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.