Tectonic evolution and paleokarstification of carbonate rocks in the Paleozoic Tarim Basin




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July 2016


Thick carbonate rocks were developed in the depression of the Tarim craton during the Cambrian–Middle Ordovician periods. The compressional tectonic movement during the Middle Caledonian–Hercynian created the paleouplifts, which became the base for the paleokarst in the Ordovician carbonate rocks. Based on the large quantity of seismic, drilling, and geological outcrop data, this study analyzed the paleokarst development in relation to the multi-stage tectonic movements in the Paleozoic Era and different stages of karstification and hypothesized paleogeomorphology and paleokarst water system of those stages. Fractures from the tectonic movements in the carbonate and non-carbonate rocks were essential for water cycle, and therefore, the karst development in deep carbonate rocks. Paleokarsts in the Tarim Basin can be classified into four major types based on the paleogeomorphology, degree of karstification, and the layering, i.e., Tahe type, gentle hill type, high steep hill type, and covered-semi-open type. Relatively, the Tahe type was mostly on hill slopes and had the strongest karstification, the gentle hill type often located in the plain areas or basin bottoms and had least karstification, the high steep hill type was controlled by faults and had medium karstification, the semi-open type was controlled by precipitation and hydraulic gradient, and fracture passages and karst caves were mostly developed along major fractures. Overall, the paleokarsts of the Ordovician carbonate rocks in the Tarim Basin can be characterized by long geologic history, multiple development stages, deep burial depth, and various karst types.


Carbonate Rock Paleokarst, Ordovician, Tectonic Evolution, Paleozoic, The Tarim Basin

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Carbonates and Evaporites, Vol. 32 (2016-07-14).