Oxygen and carbon stable isotope composition of Cretaceous to Pliocene calcareous paleosols in the Tian Shan region (Central Asia): controlling factors and paleogeographic implications

TitleOxygen and carbon stable isotope composition of Cretaceous to Pliocene calcareous paleosols in the Tian Shan region (Central Asia): controlling factors and paleogeographic implications
TypeJournal Article
Year2018
Author(s)Jolivet, M., Boulvais, P., Barrier, L., Robin, C., Heilbronn, G., Ledoyen, J., Ventroux, Q., Jia, Y., Guo, Z. and Bataleva, E.A.
JournalGeosciences
Volume8
Issue9
URLhttps://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8090330
People Links Gloria Heilbronn
Keywords Central Asia Late Mesozoic–Cenozoic climate Hypsometry Calcareous paleosols

Abstract

The Late Mesozoic–Cenozoic topographic and climate evolution of Central Asia remains highly debated. The final retreat of the proto-Paratethys Sea from the western Tarim Basin is thought to correspond in time with the onset of tectonic uplift in the Pamir, Tian Shan and Altai ranges, as well as with regional aridification. The oxygen and carbon isotope compositions of the sediment deposits in the various Central Asian basins have already been used to decipher both the topographic and climatic changes that occurred in that region during the Cenozoic, generally concentrating on one sedimentary section and/or on a limited time range and either using multiple-type samples including sandstone calcitic cements, marine carbonates, fossils, or paleosols. In order to get a homogeneous dataset, minimizing variations in the isotopic composition of the material depending on its type and/or depositional environment, we selected only calcareous paleosols sampled in several continuous sections covering a wide time range from the Late Jurassic to the Pliocene. Our sampling also covers a wide area encompassing the whole Tian Shan region, which allows detecting regional variations in the ẟ18O and ẟ13C values. We show that the influence of the distance to the proto-Paratethys Sea on the paleosol ẟ18O record was not significant. Besides local factors such as the occurrence of large lakes that can have a significant effect on the isotopic composition of the calcareous paleosols, the long-term evolution of both the ẟ18O and ẟ13C values possibly reflects the hypsometry of the river drainage systems that bring water to the basins. However, as it is commonly accepted that the ẟ18O of soil carbonates is controlled by the ẟ18O of in-situ precipitation, this last conclusion remains to be further investigated.