- GeoRef, Copyright 2004, American Geological Institute. Reference includes data supplied by American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Tulsa, OK, United States
The rhombus-shaped Tarim basin in northwestern China is controlled mainly by two left-lateral strike-slip systems: the northeast-trending Altun fault zone along its southeastern side and the northeast-trending Aheqi fault zone along its northwestern side. In this paper, we discuss the northern Tarim basin's structural features, which include three main tectonic units: the Kalpin uplift, the Kuqa depression, and the North Tarim uplift along the northern margin of the Tarim basin. Structural mapping in the Kalpin uplift shows that a series of imbricated thrust sheets have been overprinted by strike-slip faulting. The amount of strike-slip displacement is estimated to be 148 km by restoration of strike-slip structures in the uplift. The Kuqa depression is a Mesozoic-Cenozoic foredeep depression with well-developed flat-ramp structures and fault-related folds. The Baicheng basin, a Quaternary pull-apart basin, developed at the center of the Kuqa depression. Subsurface structures in the North Tarim uplift can be divided into the Mesozoic-Cenozoic and the Paleozoic lithotectonic sequences in seismic profiles. The Paleozoic litho-tectonic sequence exhibits the interference of earlier left-lateral and later right-lateral strike-slip structures. Many normal faults in the Mesozoic-Cenozoic litho-tectonic sequence form the negative flower structures in the North Tarim uplift; these structures commonly directly overlie the positive flower structures in the Paleozoic litho-tectonic sequence. The interference regions of the northwest-trending and northeast-trending folds in the Paleozoic tectonic sequence have been identified to have the best trap structures. Our structural analysis indicates that the Tarim basin is a transpressional foreland basin rejuvenated during the Cenozoic.