Tectono-climatic implications of Eocene Paratethys regression in the Tajik basin of central Asia

Barbara Carrapa, Peter G. DeCelles, Xin Wang, Mark T. Clementz, Nicoletta Mancin, Marius Stoica, Brian Kraatz, Jin Meng, Sherzod Abdulov, Fahu Chen

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35 Scopus citations

Abstract

Plate tectonics and eustatic sea-level changes have fundamental effects on paleoenvironmental conditions and bio-ecological changes. The Paratethys Sea was a large marine seaway that connected the Mediterranean Neotethys Ocean with Central Asia during early Cenozoic time. Withdrawal of the Paratethys from central Asia impacted the distribution and composition of terrestrial faunas in the region and has been largely associated with changes in global sea level and climate such as cooling associated with the Eocene/Oligocene transition (EOT).Whereas the regression has been dated in the Tarim basin (China), the pattern and timing of regression in the Tajik basin, 400 km to the west, remain unresolved, precluding a test of current paleogeographic models. Here we date the Paratethys regression in Tajikistan at ca. 39 million years ago (Ma), which is several million years older than the EOT (at ca. 34 Ma) marking the greenhouse to icehouse climate transition of the Cenozoic. Our data also show a restricted, evaporitic marine environment since the middle-late Eocene and establishment of desert like environments after ca. 39 Ma. The overall stratigraphic record from the Tajik basin and southern Tien Shan points to deposition in a foreland basin setting by ca. 40 Ma in response to active tectonic growth of the Pamir-Tibet Mountains at the same time. Combined with the northwestward younging trend of the regression in the region, the Tajik basin record is consistent with northward growth of the Pamir and suggests significant tectonic control on Paratethys regression and paleoenvironmental changes in Central Asia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-178
Number of pages11
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume424
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 5 2015

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Keywords

  • Foreland basin
  • Pamir
  • Paratethys
  • Tajik basin
  • Tarim basin
  • Tibet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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