Altai in the Cenozoic structural framework of Central Asia is a crustal brecciated zone surrounded by stable large blocks. The mobile zone is expressed in the surface topography as mountains, and the stable blocks, as plains. The sedimentary section of the latter includes Permian, Jurassic, and Quaternary molasse, which attests to structural inheritance from the older framework. The Late Paleozoic and Middle Mesozoic activity stages were associated with strike-slip faulting and granitoid magmatism, yet there is no evidence for granite intrusion in the Cenozoic.

Altai is bounded by reactivated Paleozoic master faults, but the neotectonics within the province does not show obvious relation to Paleozoic structures. Spatially correlated, large Cenozoic faults in southeastern Russian Altai follow less than half of the total length of Paleozoic faults of the same scale. Reactivation involved WE trending segments of most of major faults, and many metamorphic blocks underwent uplifting.

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