Timing, cause and impact of the late Eocene stepwise sea retreat from the Tarim Basin (west China) - INSU - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers Access content directly
Journal Articles Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology Year : 2014

Timing, cause and impact of the late Eocene stepwise sea retreat from the Tarim Basin (west China)


A vast shallow epicontinental sea extended across Eurasia and was well-connected to the Western Tethys before it retreated westward and became isolated as the Paratethys Sea. However, the palaeogeography and the timing of this westward retreat are too poorly constrained to determine potential wider environmental impacts, let alone understanding underlying mechanisms of the retreat such as global eustasy and tectonism associated with the Indo-Asia collision. Here, an improved chronostratigraphic and palaeogeographic framework is provided for the onset of the proto-Paratethys Sea retreat at its easternmost extent in the Tarim Basin in western China is provided. Five different third-order sea-level cycles can be recognised from the Cretaceous-Palaeogene sedimentary record in the Tarim Basin, of which the last two stepped successively westwards as the sea retreated after the maximum third incursion. New biostratigraphic data from the fourth and fifth incursions at the westernmost margin of the Tarim Basin are compared to our recent integrated bio-magneto-stratigraphic results on the fourth incursion near the palaeodepocentre in the south-western part of the basin. While the fourth incursion extended throughout the basin and retreated at ~ 41 Ma (base C18r), the last and fifth incursion is restricted to the westernmost margin and its marine deposits are assigned a latest Bartonian-early Priabonian age from ~ 38.0 to ~ 36.7 Ma (near top C17n.2n to base C16n.2n). Similar to the fourth, the fossil assemblages of the fifth incursion are indicative of shallow marine, near-shore conditions and their widespread distribution across Eurasia suggests that the marine connection to the Western Tethys was maintained. The lack of diachronicity of the fourth incursion between the studied sections across the southwest Tarim Basin suggests that the sea entered and withdrew relatively rapidly, as can be expected in the case of eustatic control on a shallow epicontinental basin. However, the westward palaeogeographic step between the fourth and fifth incursions separated by several millions of years rather suggests the combined long-term effect of tectonism, possibly associated with early uplift of the Pamir-Kunlun Shan thrust belt. The fourth and fifth regressions are time-equivalent with significant aridification steps recorded in the Asian interior, thus supporting climate modelling results showing that the stepwise sea retreat from Central Asia amplified the aridification of the Asian interior.


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insu-00985321 , version 1 (29-04-2014)



Roderic Bosboom, Guillaume Dupont-Nivet, Arjen Grothe, Henk Brinkhuis, Giuliana Villa, et al.. Timing, cause and impact of the late Eocene stepwise sea retreat from the Tarim Basin (west China). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 2014, 403, pp.101-118. ⟨10.1016/j.palaeo.2014.03.035⟩. ⟨insu-00985321⟩
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