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ABSTRACT: Structural and Stratigraphic Mapping from Satellite Imagery, Kalpin Uplift, Northwestern Tarim Basin, Northwest China

C. L. McKnight, A. R. Carroll, J. Chu, M. S. Hendrix, S. A. Graham, R. J. P. Lyon

The Kalpin uplift, located on the northwestern margin of the Tarim craton, northwest China, exposes a complete Paleozoic cratonal stratigraphic sequence. The lack of vegetative cover and the visible color contrasts between stratigraphic units afford an optimal situation for detailed geologic mapping from Landsat Multispectral Scanner imagery at a scale of 1:250,000. Field work in the eastern Kalpin uplift constrains the geologic interpretation of the satellite imagery.

Exposed basement rock in the Kalpin uplift consists of deformed and metamorphosed upper Proterozoic strata cut by unmetamorphosed mafic dikes. The overlying sedimentary section was deposited primarily in shallow marine to nonmarine environments and includes Sinian (latest Proterozoic to early Cambrian) siliciclastics and carbonates; Cambrian and Ordovician carbonates; Silurian green shales; Devonian red beds; Carboniferous siliciclastics and carbonates; and Permian carbonates, siliciclastics, and subaerial basalt flows.

Paleozoic strata are exposed in a series of low, parallel, curvilinear ranges located at the leading edges of low-angle, southeast-vergent thrust sheets. The regular thrust repetition of the entire Paleozoic section suggests the presence of a detachment horizon within the Cambrian section. These southeast-vergent thrust sheets override an older structural trend on the craton, the Bachu uplift, at right angles, folding as they do so. Strike-slip faults cutting the thrust sheets along the same trend as the Bachu uplift suggest the location of buried lateral ramps associated with the Bachu uplift.

The young deformation in the Kalpin uplift is a response to compressive stresses produced by the northward movement of the Indian plate. Major faults in the Tian Shan mountain range to the north have been reactivated, resulting in southward-directed thrusting over the Tarim craton.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91003©1990 AAPG Annual Convention, San Francisco, California, June 3-6, 1990