Abstract

—Paleostress inversion may be ambiguous when several markedly different local stress states are inferred for a group of outcrops. Attempts of reconstructing regional stress regimes (compressional, extensional, or strike-slip) by selecting local principal stresses of proximal directions turn out to have poor grounds. Each stress permutation (e.g., extension to compression) attendant with buildup of large irreversible strain (fault slip) requires a 5–6 kbar change in middle-crust horizontal stress and at least 50 Myr stable and uniform loading. Tectonophysical stress reconstructions for present active intracontinental orogens show heterogeneous patterns: Stress directions in uplifts are different from those in large intermontane basins and even in relatively subsided parts of mountain ranges or in adjacent uplifted zones (e.g., a plateau and a range). Paleostresses should be interpreted with reference to present stress fields in the respective areas. It is suggested to reconstruct regional stresses using the approach of L. Sim implying search for “common stress fields”. Another important technique is to trace stress changes in specific structures (large folds etc.) in the course of their evolution. The available data indicate correlation and bipolarity of stress states in large basins and uplifts.

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