Quaternary tectonics of the Pamir-Tian Shan collision zone

Quaternary tectonics of the Pamir-Tian Shan collision zone

The Pamir and Tian Shan are some of the fastest deforming mountain ranges on the planet and where they collide, over 10 mm/y (10 kilometers per million year) of shortening are accommodated across a zone a few tens of kilometers wide. This collision formed a number of very active faults and folds that  yield insights into the dynamics of how continental interiors deform.

With a number of collaborators we study the rates and patterns of deformation in the eastern Pamir-Tian Shan collision zone. We are interested in how deformation rates change through time and therefore combine satellite geodetic techniques (InSAR) and different geochronometers that can measure deformation across timescales of tens of thousands to millions of years.

Combining these techniques, we were able to track the outward and eastward growth of Pamir and Tian Shan frontal structures. We also found that in the west, where the two mountain ranges are directly in contact, most shortening is accommodated by one single structure, In the east however, deformation is more distributed across a number of active folds on both sides of the Tarim basin.



Bufe, A
., Burbank, D.W., Bookhagen, B., Liu, L., Chen, J., Li, T., Thompson, J., Yang, H. Variations of lateral bedrock erosion rates control planation of uplifting folds in the foreland of the Tian Shan, NW China. (in re-review for JGR-Earth Surface)

Thompson Jobe, J.A., Li, T., Chen, J., Burbank, D.W., Bufe, A. (2017) Quaternary Tectonic Evolution of the Pamir-Tian Shan Collision Convergence Zone, Northwest China. (in press at Tectonics)

Bufe, A., Bekaert, D.P.S., Hussain, E., Bookhagen, B., Burbank, D.W., Thomspon Jobe, J.A., Chen, J., Li, T., Liu, L., Gan, W. (2017) Temporal changes in rock-uplift rates of folds in the foreland of the Tian Shan from geodetic and geologic data. (in press at GRL)