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The Verkhoyansk fold-and-thrust belt developed along the east margin of the North Asian craton during Cretaceous time. Imbricate thrust fans characterize the structural style of the outer (west) zone of the Verkhoyansk fold-and-thrust belt. In the inner (east) zone of the Verkhoyansk fold-and-thrust belt, thrust tectonics is less pronounced, and parallel, open folds predominate. The sedimentary succession of the outer zone contains rock units from Mesoproterozoic to Mesozoic in age, whereas in the inner zone only Permian and younger rocks are exposed. According to the interpretation of limited seismic data, along with gravity and magnetic data, depth to the basement in the outer zone varies from 18 km to 14 km, whereas the inner zone contains a wide basement uplift with depth to the basement ranging from 10 km to 8 km.

Total and tectonic subsidence estimations show a similarity between the Early Carboniferous to Middle Jurassic sedimentary history of the outer Verkhoyansk fold-and-thrust belt and the subsidence history of the Mesozoic Atlantic margin of North America. Application of the thrust wedge model to the outer zone of the Verkhoyansk fold-and-thrust belt shows reasonable agreement between observations and theory. However, application of this model to the inner zone results in problems related to the very small wedge angle. Widespread distribution of Devonian evaporites is inferred to be the main factor that facilitates displacement of a narrow thrust wedge developed in the inner zone.

Both structural and subsidence studies define a boundary between the outer and the inner zones of the Verkhoyansk fold-and-thrust belt that appears to separate crustal blocks that have experienced different structural, sedimentary, and tectonic evolution. We interpret this fundamental boundary as the eastern limit of North Asian cratonic basement. The inner zone of the Verkhoyansk fold-and-thrust belt is underlain by blocks with transitional continental crust separated by rifts and rift-related basins.

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