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

Product Code: SP427
Series: GSL Special Publications - print copy
Author/Editor: Edited by M.F. Brunet, T. McCann and E.R. Sobel
Publication Date: 10 October 2017
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Special Publication 427

The geological evolution of Central Asia commenced with the formation of a complex Precambrian–Palaeozoic orogen. Cimmerian blocks were then accreted to the southern margin in the Mesozoic, leading to tectonic reactivation of older structures and discrete episodes of basin formation. The Indian and Arabian blocks collided with Asia in the Cenozoic, leading to renewed structural reactivation, intracontinental deformation and basin development.

This complex evolution resulted in the present-day setting of an elongated Tien Shan range flanked by large Mesozoic–Cenozoic sedimentary basins with smaller intramontane basins distributed within the range.

This volume presents multidisciplinary results and reviews from research groups in Europe and Central Asia that focus on the western part of the Tien Shan and some of the adjacent large sedimentary basins. These works elucidate the Late Palaeozoic–Cenozoic tectono-sedimentary evolution of the area. Emphasis is given to the collision of terranes and continents and the ensuing fault reactivations. The impact of climatic changes on sedimentation is also examined.


Published online 15/09/2017. Print copies available from 10/10/2017.

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Type: Book
Ten Digit ISBN:
Thirteen Digit ISBN: 9781862397385
Publisher: GSL
Binding: Hardback
Pages: 605
Weight: 1.5 kg



Robert Anderson

This 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.

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