Thermochronologic insight into late Cenozoic deformation in the basement-cored Terskey Range, Kyrgyz Tien Shan


Corresponding author: E. A. Macaulay, Institut für Erd- und Umweltwissenschaften, Universität Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 24-25, 14476 Potsdam-Golm, Germany. (


[1] Basement-cored ranges formed by reverse faulting within intracontinental mountain belts are often composed of poly-deformed lithologies. Geological data capable of constraining the timing, magnitude, and distribution of the most recent deformational phase are usually missing in such ranges. In this paper, we present new low temperature thermochronological and geological data from a transect through the basement-cored Terskey Range, located in the Kyrgyz Tien Shan. Using these data, we are able to investigate the range's late Cenozoic deformation for the first time. Displacements on reactivated faults are constrained and deformation of thermochronologically derived structural markers is assessed. These structural markers postdate the earlier deformational phases, providing the only record of Cenozoic deformation and of the reactivation of structures within the Terskey Range. Overall, these structural markers have a southern inclination, interpreted to reflect the decreasing inclination of the reverse fault bounding the Terskey Range. Our thermochronological data are also used to investigate spatial and temporal variations in the exhumation of the Terskey Range, identifying a three-stage Cenozoic exhumation history: (1) virtually no exhumation in the Paleogene, (2) increase to slightly higher exhumation rates at ~26–20 Ma, and (3) significant increase in exhumation starting at ~10 Ma.