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Geological Evolution of Central Asian Basins and the Western Tien Shan Range

Brunet Central Asian BasinsThis volume is made up of 17 papers divided into four sections.  Each paper is written to be able to stand alone.  The subject area of the volume is large, rugged and remote.  The region’s location and evolution are explained with respect to the regional tectonic setting of central Asia.  

Limited information for this area is available in English, although some translations are available.  In addition, access to parts of this area is restricted by either a lack of infrastructure or by conflict.  Fortunately, an overview is provided that helps the reader get an overall limited understanding of the geology, tectonics and theory on the evolution of the region, from the Paleozoic to the Quaternary.  This introductory paper is followed by several more focused papers that help fill in questions about the geologic history and evolution of select central Asian basins and the western Tien Shan Range, as well as their structural and tectonic setting.  Parts of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and northwestern China, including basins associated with the Caspian and Aral seas, are covered.

The different basins discussed in the volume have undergone varying levels of exploration, mainly for oil or gas.  In some areas there has been little or no basin-wide exploration, including field mapping at scales that are helpful to evaluate the potential for oil and gas or mineral exploitation.  This reflects the title of the volume and meets the reader’s expectations.  In addition, some basins have many lithologic complexes that are highly heterogenous over short distances, making accurate mapping difficult. Fortunately, remote sensing data sets, when available, have been useful in large-scale analysis of subsurface and surficial targets.  While limited in extent, the volume contains a number of examples of seismic surveys conducted in the region.

Overall, the volume is a helpful general resource for descriptions of the geology, tectonic setting and evolution of select central Asian basins and the western Tien Shan Range.

Reviewed by Robert Anderson

GEOLOGICAL EVOLUTION OF THE CENTRAL BASINS AND THE WESTERN TIEN SHAN RANGE, by Brunet, M.- F., McCann, T. & Sobel, E.R. (eds), 2017. Published by The Geological Society SP427, 605 pp. (hbk). ISBN:  978-1-86239-738-5 List Price:  £120.00 Fellow's Price: £60.00 W: https://www.geolsoc.org.uk/SP427