Abstract

The history of the peneplain in East Sayan was studied using apatite fission-track analysis (AFTA). This method is suitable for determining the formation time of the erosional surface and estimating its denudation rate. The largest known relic of the peneplanation surface in this area is the Oka Plateau, separated from the Kropotkin Ridge by the Oka–Zhombolok fault. The AFTA shows that the peneplain on the Oka Plateau formed in the Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous. This peneplain is much younger than the erosional surfaces that persist today in the Tien Shan, Gobi Altai, and Mongolian Altai (Early Jurassic). However, it is older than the peneplain on the Chulyshman Plateau, Altai (Late Cretaceous), suggesting asynchronous formation of the ancient peneplain in Central Asia. The similar exhumation histories of samples from the Oka Plateau and Kropotkin Ridge indicate that these morphotectonic structures developed from Jurassic to late Miocene as a single block, which underwent continuous slow denudation at an average rate of 0.0175 mm/yr. Active tectonic processes in the Late Miocene caused the destruction of the peneplanation surface and its partial uplifting to different altitudes. The rate of Pliocene–Quaternary vertical movements along the Oka–Zhombolok fault is roughly estimated at 0.046–0.080 mm/yr, which is several times higher than the denudation rate in this area. During the Pliocene–Quaternary, the Oka Plateau has not undergone any significant morphologic changes owing to its intermediate position between the summit plain and datum surface of East Sayan and to its partial shielding by basaltic lavas.

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