Exhuming the Meso–Cenozoic Kyrgyz Tianshan and Siberian Altai-Sayan: A review based on low-temperature thermochronologyby Stijn Glorie, Johan De Grave

Geoscience Frontiers

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Year
2015
DOI
10.1016/j.gsf.2015.04.003
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Earth and Planetary Sciences (all)

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Accepted Manuscript

Exhuming the Meso–Cenozoic Kyrgyz Tianshan and Siberian Altai-Sayan: a review based on low-temperature thermochronology

Stijn Glorie, Johan De Grave

PII: S1674-9871(15)00046-8

DOI: 10.1016/j.gsf.2015.04.003

Reference: GSF 357

To appear in: Geoscience Frontiers

Received Date: 28 January 2015

Revised Date: 9 April 2015

Accepted Date: 29 April 2015

Please cite this article as: Glorie, S., De Grave, J., Exhuming the Meso–Cenozoic Kyrgyz Tianshan and Siberian Altai-Sayan: a review based on low-temperature thermochronology, Geoscience Frontiers (2015), doi: 10.1016/j.gsf.2015.04.003.

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Exhuming the Meso–Cenozoic Kyrgyz Tianshan and Siberian Altai-Sayan: a review 1 based on low-temperature thermochronology 2 3

Stijn Gloriea,*, Johan De Graveb 4 5 a

Centre for Tectonics, Resources and Exploration (TRaX), Department of Earth Sciences, School of Physical 6

Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide - SA 5005, Australia 7 b

Dept. Geology & Soil Science, MINPET Group, Ghent University, 281-S8 Krijgslaan, Ghent - 9000, Belgium 8 * Corresponding author: E-mail: stijn.glorie@adelaide.edu.au, Tel: + 61 8 8313 2206. 9 10

Abstract 11

Thermochronological datasets for the Kyrgyz Tianshan and Siberian Altai-Sayan within 12

Central Asia reveal a punctuated exhumation history during the Meso–Cenozoic. In this 13 paper, the datasets for both regions are collectively reviewed in order to speculate on the links 14 between the Meso–Cenozoic exhumation of the continental Eurasian interior and the 15 prevailing tectonic processes at the plate margins. Whereas most of the thermochronological 16 data across both regions document late Jurassic–Cretaceous regional basement cooling, older 17 landscape relics and dissecting fault zones throughout both regions preserve Triassic and 18

Cenozoic events of rapid cooling respectively. Triassic cooling is thought to reflect the 19

Qiangtang–Eurasia collision and/or rifting/subsidence in the West Siberian basin. 20

Alternatively, this cooling signal could be related with the terminal terrane-amalgamation of 21 the Central Asian Orogenic Belt. For the Kygyz Tianshan, late Jurassic–Cretaceous regional 22 exhumation and Cenozoic fault reactivations can be linked with specific tectonic events 23 during the closure of the Palaeo-Tethys and Neo-Tethys oceans respectively. The effect of the 24 progressive consumption of these oceans and the associated collisions of Cimmeria and India 25

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ACCEPTED MANUSCRIPT 2 with Eurasia probably only had a minor effect on the exhumation of the Siberian Altai-Sayan. 26

More likely, tectonic forces from the east (present-day coordinates) as a result of the building 27 and collapse of the Mongol-Okhotsk orogen and rifting in the Baikal region shaped the 28 current Siberian Altai-Sayan topography. Although many of these hypothesised links need to 29 be tested further, they allow a first-order insight into the dynamic response and the stress 30 propagation pathways from the Eurasian margin into the continental interior. 31

Keywords: Central Asia; Tianshan; Altai Sayan; thermochronology; exhumation; fault 32 reactivation 33 1. Introduction 34

The mountainous landscape of the Central Asian Tianshan and Altai-Sayan predominantly 35 formed as a response to recurrent tectonic deformation (e.g. Hendrix et al., 1992; De Grave et 36 al., 2007; Jolivet et al., 2013). The causes for these episodes of deformation are not yet fully 37 understood. It has been suggested widely that the Meso-Cenozoic punctuated (= recurring at 38 interrupted intervals) intracontinental deformation that affected Central Asia, is largely 39 related with distant collisions at the southern Eurasian plate margin, with the most recent 40 pulse of deformation being a far-field response to the India-Eurasia collision (e.g. Molnar and 41

Tapponnier, 1975; Knapp, 1996; De Grave et al., 2007). The India-Eurasia collision not only 42 caused shortening and uplift in the Himalayas and Tibet (e.g. Patriat and Achache, 1984; 43

Harrison and Copeland, 1992; Wang et al., 2001), but also the continuous convergence 44 between India and Eurasia and the growth of the Tibetan plateau induced convergence-drive 45 (e.g. Abdrakhmatov et al., 1996) and/or flexure-related (Aitken, 2011) stresses that 46 propagated into the Eurasian interior where they deformed the weaker crust of Central Asia 47 (e.g. Knapp, 1996; Wang et al., 2001). Specifically, this deformation is preferentially 48 accommodated by strength heterogeneities such as pre-existing fault zones within the crust of 49

Tibet and Central Asia (e.g. England and Houseman, 1985), resulting in fault reactivation and 50

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ACCEPTED MANUSCRIPT 3 associated rapid exhumation (Jolivet et al., 2001, 2010; Walker et al., 2007; Clark et al., 51 2010; Duvall et al., 2011; Glorie et al., 2011a, 2012a,b; Oskin, 2012; De Grave et al., 2013). 52

The chronology and dynamics of the India-Eurasia convergence and collision as well as its 53 influence on the exhumation of Tibet and Central Asia have been a matter of debate in recent 54 years. Patriat and Achache (1984) were among the first to argue that the India-Eurasia 55 collision occurred around ~50 Ma. Rowley (1996) and Clift et al. (2003) proposed a very 56 similar age-estimate based on a review of stratigraphic data. However, more recent 57 palaeomagnetic, biostratigraphic and sedimentological studies suggested that India and 58