Late Quaternary geology of the Tunka rift basin (Lake Baikal region), Russia

Shchetnikov, Dustin White, Filinov, Rutter

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The objective of this research is to obtain a better understanding of the evolution of the Tunka rift basin, part of the Baikal rift zone, and how it relates to the overall geologic history of the region, particular for the Quaternary period. The tectonically active Baikal rift zone began forming over 50 million years ago and continues today. In the Tunka basin, during the Oligocene and Middle Pliocene, relatively weak tectonic disturbances took place and thick accumulations of organic-rich sands, silts, and clays were deposited in lacustrine–marshy subtropical environments. Tectonism increased between the Miocene and Pliocene and thick units of coarse alluvium and floodplain sediments were deposited. During the Late Pliocene–Quaternary, tectonism formed basins that are now filled with a variety of coarse clastic materials. Early and Middle Pleistocene sediments are poorly exposed, covered by widespread Late Pleistocene deposits. Three Late Pleistocene sedimentary facies dominate: boulder–pebble gravels (proluvial, glacialfluvial, and alluvial sediments), alluvial sand, and loess-like sediments with associated slope deposits altered by post-depositional wind erosion. The relationship between these complexes, including radiocarbon and other chronological data and fauna and flora remains, indicates that they began forming c. 70000 yr ago. Paleosols, glacial deposits and cryogenic material indicate that at times the climate was coolor cold. During the early Late Pleistocene renewed tectonism took place causing increased deposition of coarse sediments. The middle Late Pleistocene deposits consist mostly of sandy, floodplain alluvium. By the end of the Late Pleistocene–Holocene, alluviation was reduced and replaced by a high degree of erosion and aeolian deposition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-208
JournalJournal of Asian Earth Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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