Pre-Mesozoic geodynamics of the Precaspasian Basin (Kazakhstan)

Yu A. Volozh, M. P. Antipov, M. F. Brunet, I. A. Garagash, L. I. Lobkovskii, J. P. Cadet

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34 Citations (Scopus)


This paper concentrates on the Pre-Mesozoic history of the Precaspian Basin representing more than half of the 20 km of its sedimentary thickness. We present the evolution of sediments deposited in the basin through time by several regional sections of the basin. These image, from the Devonian, the creation and evolution of a deep intercontinental basin which existed from Carboniferous to Permian. Palinspastic reconstructions show also the evolution of the basin's margins, their relations with the southern pre-Uralian foredeep in the east and carbonate build-ups in the southeast. We present a reconstruction for the early history of the Precaspian Basin, which became an individual basin only at the end of the Permian as a result of the Uralian orogeny. The basement of the Central Precaspian depression is characterised by a thin crust where a low-velocity layer is absent. A layer of abnormally high velocities exists below the crust, which on the basis of structural and gravitational field data is interpreted as eclogite. We put forward a scenario for the age and emplacement of eclogite lenses at the base of the crust. They are possibly implemented in the hangingwall, from a westward subduction zone existing during the Vendian, before the collision giving birth to the Proto-Urals. Most of the basin subsidence is due to the thinning (mainly during Devonian) and increase of the average density of the crust. Present crustal density has characteristics of intermediate to lower crust interpreted by some authors as oceanic. We propose that the loading effect of the eclogites emplacement may explain also a part of the Precaspian Basin subsidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-58
Number of pages24
JournalSedimentary Geology
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Crustal thinning
  • Eclogites
  • Isostasy
  • Precaspian Basin
  • Subsidence


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