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Paleomagnetic study of Cenozoic sediments from the Zaisan basin (SE Kazakhstan) and the Chuya depression (Siberian Altai): tectonic implications for central Asia

Abstract : This paper presents new paleomagnetic results on Cenozoic rocks from northern central Asia. Eighteen sites were sampled in Pliocene to Miocene clays and sandy clays of the Zaisan basin (southeastern Kazakhstan) and 12 sites in the upper Oligocene to Pleistocene clays and sandstones of the Chuya depression (Siberian Altai). Thermal demagnetization of isothermal remanent magnetization (IRM) showed that hematite and magnetite are the main ferromagnetic minerals in the deposits of the Zaisan basin. Stepwise thermal demagnetization up to 640-660 °C isolated a characteristic (ChRM) component of either normal or reverse polarity at nine sites. At two other sites, the great circles convergence method yielded a definite direction. Measurements of the anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility showed that the hematite-bearing sediments preserved their depositional fabric. These results suggest a primary origin of the ChRM and were substantiated by positive fold and reversal tests. The mean paleomagnetic direction for the Zaisan basin ( D=9°, I=59°, k=19, α95=11°) is close to the expected direction derived from the APW path of Eurasia [J. Geophys. Res. 96 (1991) 4029] and shows that the basin did not rotated relative to stable Asia during the Tertiary. In the upper Pliocene-Pleistocene sandstones of the Chuya depression, a very stable ChRM carried by hematite was found. Its mean direction ( D=9°, I=46°, k=25, α95=7°) is characterized by declination close to the one excepted for early Quaternary, whereas inclination is lower. In the middle Miocene to lower Pliocene clays and sandstones, a stable ChRM of both normal and reverse polarities carried by magnetite was isolated. Its mean direction ( D=332°, I=63°, k=31, α95=4°) is deviated with respect to the reference direction and implies a Neogene, 39±8° counterclockwise rotation of the Chuya depression relative to stable Asia. These results and those from the literature suggest that the different amount of rotation found in the two basins is related to a sharp variation in their tectonic style, predominantly compressive in the Zaisan basin and transpressive in the Siberian Altai. At a larger scale, the pattern of vertical axis rotations deduced from paleomagnetic data in northern central Asia is consistent with the hypothesis of a large left-lateral shear zone running from the Pamirs to the Baikal. Heterogeneous rotations, however, indicate changes in style of faulting along the shear zone and local effect for the domains with the largest rotations.
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Submitted on : Saturday, March 12, 2022 - 5:41:48 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, March 13, 2022 - 3:25:38 AM

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J. C. Thomas, R. Lanza, A. Kazansky, V. Zykin, N. Semakov, et al.. Paleomagnetic study of Cenozoic sediments from the Zaisan basin (SE Kazakhstan) and the Chuya depression (Siberian Altai): tectonic implications for central Asia. Tectonophysics, 2002, 351, pp.119-137. ⟨10.1016/S0040-1951(02)00128-2⟩. ⟨insu-03607074⟩

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