Late Eocene palaeogeography of the proto-Paratethys Sea in Central Asia (NW China, southern Kyrgyzstan and SW Tajikistan)
Published:January 01, 2017
Roderic Bosboom, Oleg Mandic, Guillaume Dupont-Nivet, Jean-Noël Proust, Cholponbek Ormukov, Jovid Aminov, 2017. "Late Eocene palaeogeography of the proto-Paratethys Sea in Central Asia (NW China, southern Kyrgyzstan and SW Tajikistan)", Geological Evolution of Central Asian Basins and the Western Tien Shan Range, M.-F Brunet, T. McCann, E. R. Sobel
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The Cretaceous and Palaeogene sediments of the basins in Central Asia include the remnants of the easternmost extent of a vast shallow epicontinental sea, which extended across the Eurasian continent before it retreated westwards and eventually isolated as the Paratethys Sea. To improve understanding of its long-term palaeogeographical evolution, we complement the well-constrained chronological framework of the Tarim Basin in China with stratigraphic records of the sea retreat from the Fergana Basin and the Alai Valley Basin in southern Kyrgyzstan and the Afghan–Tajik Basin in SW Tajikistan. By lithostratigraphic analyses and identification of bivalve assemblages, this study establishes for the first time a clear and detailed regional correlation of Palaeogene marine strata across Central Asia, showing that the basins share a similar palaeogeographical evolution characterized by a long-term stepwise retreat punctuated by short-term shallow-marine incursions. Our correlation shows that the last two marine incursions recognized in the Tarim Basin can be traced westwards. The permanent disappearance of the sea from Central Asia probably occurred with limited diachroneity in the late Eocene, before the isolation of the Paratethys Sea, shifting the easternmost margin of the sea hundreds of kilometres westwards and probably significantly reducing moisture supply to the Asian interior.
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Geological Evolution of Central Asian Basins and the Western Tien Shan Range
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.