Abstract

The relief of a vast area of western China and southern Mongolia was analyzed by methods of specialized morphometry to reveal structural and morphological features of recent tectonism. The tectonic relief of some part of the collisional system of Inner Asia, including the eastern Tien Shan, Govi Altay, and Bei Shan, is characterized by a general decrease in heights from west to east and a complicated system of domal ridges and intermontane troughs controlled by lenticular-rhombic faulting in the upper lithosphere. Submeridional transverse linear lows play an important role in the structure of the tectonic relief. It is likely that they are due to an irregular longitudinal flow of lithosphere blocks in the process of submeridional transverse compression. The structural signature of collisional geodynamics is traced eastward to the Ordos Province in a large meander of the Huang He and northward to the Hangayn Mountains, Tuva, and southern Gorny Altai. The predominance of domal deformations in young uplifts and no signs of their block desintegration suggest a crucial role of vertical tectonic motions largely responsible for the recent tectonic style of the eastern Tien Shan and Altay.

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