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Oligocene clockwise rotations along the eastern Pamir: Tectonic and paleogeographic implications

Abstract : Despite the importance of the Pamir range in controlling Asian paleoenvironments and land-sea paleogeography, its tectonic evolution remains poorly constrained in time and space, hindering its potential for understanding deep to surface processes. We provide here new constraints on vertical-axis tectonic rotations from the southwest Tarim Basin along the eastern flank of the Pamir arcuate range based on paleomagnetic results. Two well-dated Eocene to Oligocene sections, previously analyzed using biostratigraphy andmagnetostratigraphy, yield consistently clockwise rotations of 21.6±4.2° in 41 to 36Ma strata then 17.1±6.5° in 33 to 28Ma strata at the Aertashi section and 14.2 ± 11.5° in 41 to 40Ma strata at the Kezi section. Combined with a regional review of existing paleomagnetic studies, these results indicate that most of the clockwise rotations along the eastern Pamir occurred during Oligocene times and did not extend systematically and regionally into the TarimBasin. In contrast, on the western flank of the Pamir tectonic rotations in Cretaceous to Neogene strata are regionally extensive and systematically counterclockwise throughout the Afghan-Tajik Basin. This timing and pattern of rotations is consistent with paleogeographic reconstructions of the regional sea retreat out of Central Asia and supports a two-stage kinematic model: (1) symmetric rotations of either flanks of the Pamir arcuate range until Oligocene times followed by (2) continued rotations on its western flank associated with radial thrusting and, along the eastern flank, no further rotations due to decoupled transfer slip starting in the Early Miocene.
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Roderic Bosboom, Guillaume Dupont-Nivet, Wentao Huang, Wei Yang, Zhaojie Guo. Oligocene clockwise rotations along the eastern Pamir: Tectonic and paleogeographic implications. Tectonics, American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2014, 33 (2), pp.53-66. ⟨10.1002/2013TC003388⟩. ⟨insu-00979593⟩

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