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Assembly of the Pamirs: Age and origin of magmatic belts from the southern Tien Shan to the southern Pamirs and their relation to Tibet

January 1, 2004

Magmatic rocks and depositional setting of associated volcaniclastic strata along a north-south traverse spanning the southern Tien Shan and eastern Pamirs of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan constrain the tectonics of the Pamirs and Tibet. The northern Pamirs and northwestern Tibet contain the north facing Kunlun suture, the south facing Jinsha suture, and the intervening Carboniferous to Triassic Karakul-Mazar subduction accretion system; the latter is correlated with the Songpan-Garze-Hoh Xi system of Tibet. The Kunlun arc is a composite early Paleozoic to late Paleozoic-Triassic arc. Arc formation in the Pamirs is characterized by ???370-320 Ma volcanism that probably continued until the Triassic. The cryptic Tanymas suture of the southern northern Pamirs is part of the Jinsha suture. A massive ??????227 Ma batholith stitches the Karakul-Mazar complex in the Pamirs. There are striking similarities between the Qiangtang block in the Pamirs and Tibet. Like Tibet, the regional structure of the Pamirs is an anticlinorium that includes the Muskol and Sares domes. Like Tibet, the metamorphic rocks in these domes are equivalents to the Karakul-Mazar-Songpan-Garze system. Granitoids intruding the Qiangtang block yield ???200-230 Ma ages in the Pamirs and in central Tibet. The stratigraphy of the eastern Pshart area in the Pamirs is similar to the Bangong-Nujiang suture zone in the Amdo region of eastern central Tibet, but a Triassic ocean basin sequence is preserved in the Pamirs. Arc-type granitoids that intruded into the eastern Pshart oceanic-basin-arc sequence (???190-160 Ma) and granitoids that cut the southern Qiangtang block (???170-160 Ma) constitute the Rushan-Pshart arc. Cretaceous plutons that intruded the central and southern Pamirs record a long-lasting magmatic history. Their zircons and those from late Miocene xenoliths show that the most distinct magmatic events were Cambro-Ordovician (???410-575 Ma), Triassic (???210-250 Ma; likely due to subduction along the Jinsha suture), Middle Jurassic (???147-195 Ma; subduction along Rushan-Pshart suture), and mainly Cretaceous. Middle and Late Cretaceous magmatism may reflect arc activity in Asia prior to the accretion of the Karakoram block and flat-slab subduction along the Shyok suture north of the Kohistan-Ladakh arc, respectively. Before India and Asia collided, the Pamir region from the Indus-Yarlung to the Jinsha suture was an Andean-style plate margin. Our analysis suggests a relatively simple crustal structure for the Pamirs and Tibet. From the Kunlun arc in the north to the southern Qiangtang block in the south the Pamirs and Tibet likely have a dominantly sedimentary crust, characterized by Karakul-Mazar-Songpan-Garze accretionary wedge rocks. The crust south of the southern Qiangtang block is likely of granodioritic composition, reflecting long-lived subduction, arc formation, and Cretaceous-Cenozoic underthrusting. Copyright 2004 by the American Geophysical Union.

Publication Year 2004
Title Assembly of the Pamirs: Age and origin of magmatic belts from the southern Tien Shan to the southern Pamirs and their relation to Tibet
DOI 10.1029/2003TC001583
Authors M. Schwab, L. Ratschbacher, W. Siebel, M. McWilliams, V. Minaev, V. Lutkov, F. Chen, K. Stanek, B. Nelson, W. Frisch, J. L. Wooden
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Tectonics
Index ID 70026887
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse