Structural evolution of the Northwest Tarim Basin, China

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Title: Structural evolution of the Northwest Tarim Basin, China
Authors: Turner, Sebastian
Item Type: Thesis or dissertation
Abstract: The sedimentary and structural record of the NW Tarim Basin, China, provides an insight into the amalgamation of Central Asia and is an ideal area in which to examine the impact of an inherited tectonostratigraphic framework on the evolution of foreland fold-thrust belts. The NW Tarim Basin contains a thick (3-16 km) sedimentary succession which was deposited from the Late Neoproterozoic onwards, and has been exhumed by a foreland fold-thrust belt system associated with the South Tien Shan mountains during the Middle to Late Cenozoic. The research presented in this thesis combines satellite image interpretation and field investigations in order to examine the tectonostratigraphic framework of the NW Tarim Basin and to ascertain the causes of lateral structural variability and partitioning of the foreland fold-thrust belt system. The Upper Neoproterozoic to Lower Permian sedimentary succession records the progressive evolution of the NW Tarim Basin as a rift, intracratonic and foreland basin. Following a period of subaerial exposure throughout the Mesozoic, tectonic subsidence from the Middle Cenozoic onwards was driven by flexural deflection beneath the Pamirs and Tien Shan orogenic belts. This was coupled with the development of a foreland fold-thrust belt system along the northwest margin of the Tarim Basin. Lateral variations in the structural geometry, architecture and style of the foreland fold-thrust belt system correspond to changes in the thickness of the sedimentary succession and interaction with inherited, basement fault zones. An eastwest transition from the wide, arcuate Keping Shan Thrust Belt into the narrow Kashgar Fold Belt is ascribed to thickening of the Cenozoic (syn-tectonic) foreland basin succession. In contrast, internal variations in the structural architecture of the Keping Shan Thrust Belt are governed by lateral changes in the thickness of the Palaeozoic (pre-tectonic) sedimentary succession. These changes occur abruptly across inherited, Early Permian fault zones that have been reactivated as strike-slip faults in order to accommodate these lateral variations in the structure of the fold-thrust belt.
Issue Date: 2010
Date Awarded: Jan-2011
Supervisor: Cosgrove, John
Liu, Jianguo
Author: Turner, Sebastian
Department: Earth Science and Engineering
Publisher: Imperial College London
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Qualification Name: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Appears in Collections:Earth Science and Engineering PhD theses

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