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Basin width control of faulting in the Naryn Basin, south‐central Kyrgyzstan


In Central Asia's Tien Shan, deformation is distributed across the wide orogen, a characteristic of intracontinental mountain building. Active faults are commonly found within intramontane basins that separate its constituent ranges. In order to explore the controls on this intramontane basin deformation, we study the Naryn Basin of south-central Kyrgyzstan. A series of five balanced cross-sections reveals a transition in patterns of faulting from faults confined to basin margins to faults focused within the basin center. The 20-km-wide eastern Naryn Basin displays deformation attributed to low-angle splays of the northern, basin-bounding fault. In the 40-km-wide western Naryn Basin, the pattern of deformation linked to the northern range remains, but is accompanied by steeper faults that dip both south and north without being directly linked to the basin-bounding fault. We compare these cross-sections to synthetic aperture radar interferometry (InSAR) measurements of surface deformation. Profiles of InSAR-derived surface deformation rates across the Naryn Basin reveal that in the west, deformation is distributed across the broad basin interior, whereas in the east, rapid uplift is concentrated at the margin of the narrower basin. From the geodetic and structural data, we infer that in the western Naryn Basin, deformation has migrated away from the northern basin margin and into the interior. Deformation of the eastern basin interior, however, remains linked to the basin-bounding fault. A simple mechanical model demonstrates that basin width may control basin deformation whereby basin-interior faulting in the narrow, eastern Naryn Basin is inhibited by the overburden of adjacent ranges. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.

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