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Glorie S.,Ghent University | De Grave J.,Ghent University | Buslov M.M.,RAS Institute of Geology and Mineralogy | Zhimulev F.I.,RAS Institute of Geology and Mineralogy | And 7 more authors.
Tectonics | Year: 2011

Multimethod chronology was applied on intrusives bordering the Kyrgyz South Tien Shan suture (STSs) to decipher the timing of (1) formation and amalgamation of the suturing units and (2) intracontinental deformation that built the bordering mountain ranges. Zircon U/Pb data indicate similarities between the Tien Shan and Tarim Precambrian crust. Caledonian (∼440-410 Ma) and Hercynian (∼310-280 Ma) zircon U/Pb ages were found at the edge of the STSs, related to subduction and closure of the Turkestan Ocean and the formation of the suture itself. Permian-Triassic (∼280-210 Ma) titanite fission track and zircon (U-Th)/He data record the first signs of exhumation when the STSs evolved into a shear zone and the adjacent Tarim basin started to subside. Low-temperature thermochronological (apatite fission track, zircon and apatite (U-Th)/He) analyses reveal three distinct cooling phases, becoming younger toward the STSs center: (1) Jurassic-Cretaceous cooling ages provide evidence that a Mesozoic South Tien Shan orogen formed as a response to the Cimmerian orogeny; (2) Early Paleogene (∼60-45 Ma) data indicate a renewed pulse of STSs reactivation during the Early Cenozoic; (3) Neogene ages constrain the onset of the modern Tien Shan mountain building to the Late Oligocene (∼30-25 Ma), which intensified during the Miocene (∼10-8 Ma) and Pliocene (∼3-2 Ma). The Cenozoic signals may reflect renewed responses to collisions at the southern Eurasian border (i.e., the Kohistan-Dras and India-Eurasia collisions). This progressive rejuvenation of the STSs demonstrates that deformation has not migrated steadily into the forelands, but was focused on pre-existing basement structures. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.

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