Abstract

Apatite fission-track (AFT) thermochronological modeling as a diagnostic tool for periods of stability (peneplanation) and tectonic activity (orogeny) has been broadly used in tectonic studies of Central Asia in recent years. We discuss more than 100 AFT ages of samples from the Kyrgyz Tien Shan and Altai and compare them with AFT data from northern Kazakhstan. Geological, geomorphological, and AFT data indicate intense activity in the Late Cenozoic Eurasian continental interior. The impact from the India-Eurasia collision on the northern Tien Shan, Altai, and northern Kazakhstan regions showed up at 11, 5, and 3 Ma, respectively, as a result of stress propagation into the continent, with the ensuing reactivation and mountain growth. We hypothesize that a distant effect of the Late Cenozoic India-Eurasia collision was to rejuvenate Paleozoic fault zones and to deform the Mesozoic sedimentary cover north of the collision front as far as the West Siberian Plate. The reactivation facilitated formation of tectonic oil and gas traps. The activity in northern Central Asia under the effect of the Indian indentation into Eurasia appears to continue and may evolve to include uplift of southern West Siberian plate with uplift.

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