The geometry of the entire crust from the northern part of the Tarim Basin to the southwestern Tian Shan east of Kashi is imaged on a N-S–directed explosive-source deep seismic-reflection profile. The profile reflects the sedimentary formations in the northern part of the Tarim Basin and the fold-and-thrust belt of the southern Tian Shan. N-dipping reflectors of the lower crust, as well as fluctuations in Moho depth, below which several mantle reflectors were observed, reveal the fine crustal structure beneath the junction of the southwest Tian Shan and the Tarim Basin. Mesozoic–Cenozoic shortening of the southwestern Tian Shan occurred at a crustal scale involving detachment-related folding in the basin directed northward toward the mountains and reverse faulting in the mountains directed toward the basin. In addition, a crocodile fabric developed within the lower crust beneath the basin area. The lithospheric structure revealed by the seismic-reflection section between the Tarim Basin and the Tian Shan Mountains reflects a process of intracontinental collision.
- Received 20 July 2012.
- Revision received 15 January 2013.
- Accepted 25 April 2013.
- © 2013 Geological Society of America