Geological and Environmental Engineering | Article | Published 2013

Ordovician–Carboniferous tectono-sedimentary evolution of the North Nuratau region, Uzbekistan (Westernmost Tien Shan)

Keywords: Uzbekistan Palaeozoic Turkestan Ocean Tien Shan


The Tien Shan is a c. 2500 km long orogenic belt of which the Nuratau region of eastern Uzbekistan forms the western part. Petrographical and field analysis of the Ordovician–Carboniferous succession in the North Nuratau region provided the basis for a reconstruction of the depositional settings along part of the northern margin of the Alai continent and their evolution during the period of closure of the Turkestan Ocean, which separated the Alai and the Kazakh–Kyrgyz continents. Initial sedimentation (Ordovician) was broadly carbonate dominated, although by Mid-Late Ordovician times siliciclastic input predominated in some areas. These variations, between clastic- and carbonate-dominated regions may have been related to tectonic activity within the Alai continent. Carbonate sedimentation was reestablished in the ?Wenlock, with broad shelf systems forming along the continental margin. Volcanic activity in the Early Devonian records a period of tectonic instability, and this was followed by the reestablishment of the carbonate mosaic, albeit with a greater degree of instability (as indicated by stratigraphic gaps) than in the Silurian. This pattern extended up into the Carboniferous culminating in backarc-related magmatic activity. Final closure of the Turkestan Ocean involved significant folding and thrusting, as well as a major change from compressional to strike-slip movement.


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