Abstract

The Dariv Basin is an actively evolving intracontinental transpressional basin located on the eastern flank of the Mongolian Altai. The basin occupies a complex tectonic position between a restraining bend, a thrusted basement block, and two major conjugate strike-slip fault systems. Structures and sedimentary strata exposed within the Dariv Basin suggest a Mesozoic and Cenozoic two-stage evolution. Jurassic–Cretaceous strata fine upward and record alluvial fan, fluvial and lacustrine depositional environments. The distribution of Mesozoic sedimentary rocks and the presence of a suspected Jurassic normal fault array suggest that the Dariv Basin initially formed as an extensional basin. Following Palaeogene tectonic quiescence, Oligocene–Recent basin fill is dominated by alluvial fan sediments derived from basin-flanking ranges. The modern basin is deforming by thrusting, normal fault inversion and folding along discrete belts expressed as intrabasinal ridges and domes. These belts define a rhomboid of active deformation that compartmentalizes the basin. Sediments derived from these discrete deforming belts and from basin flanking ranges continue to accumulate in the basin centre. Thus, modern fans contain reworked older basin fill and competing processes of sedimentation, deformation, erosion and resedimentation can be observed. The Dariv Basin is an excellent example of a transpressional piggyback basin in the early stages of basin inversion and destruction.

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