International Journal of Geosciences, 2011, 2, 1-12
doi:10.4236/ijg.2011.21001 Published Online February 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IJG
Up-to-Date Geodynamics and Seismicity of Central Asia
Yury Gatinsky1, Dmitry Rundquist1, Galina Vladova2, Tatiana Prokhorova2
1Vernadsky State Geological Museum RAS, Moscow, Russia
2International Institute of Earthquake Prediction and Mathematical Geophysics RAS, Mosc ow, Russia
Received September 30, 2010; revised January 1, 2011; accepted January 11, 2011
The analysis of the seismicity in central Asia shows its distribution within a “triangle” of maximal in-
ner-continental seismic activity, which is situated between south edge of the Lake Baikal and the Himalayas.
The “triangle” coincides with the central Asian transit zone which divides the north Eurasian and Indian li-
thosphere plates and provides transfer and relaxation of tectonic stresses that arise between them. The central
Asian transit zone consists of numerous crust blocks of different sizes. Blocks’ boundaries are often repre-
sented by not only single faults but relatively wide interblock zones characterized by intensive shattering of
rocks and releasing a significant quantity of the seismic energy. The most active interblock zones limited the
Pamirs, Tien Shan, Shan, and Bayanhar blocks as well as north boundaries of the Indian Plate. The quantity
of the seismic energy releasing along each of them reaches 5 × 1015 J, while along other boundaries it
doesn’t exceed 3 × 1012 - 2 × 1015 J. The majority of the most intensive seismic events took place just in
these interblock zones. The total quantity of seismic energy is generally diminished away from the boundary of
the Indian Plate, but sometimes the maximal quantity releases in inner parts of the transit zone at the distance
500-1500 km from the plate boundary. The most active interblock zones of central Asia differ from subduction
and collision zones by depth of their penetration in lithosphere and at the same time are rather near to them by
the volume of energy realizing. The examination of interblock zones shows that the majority of intensives
earthquakes occur within them in regions with sharp changes of geodynamic conditions. On the whole the most
part of central Asia is situated under the influence of the Indian indenter, which causes the prevailing of tran-
spression tectonics. An abnormal high seismic energy releasing depends of deep continuation of the plate slab
in collision zones (Pamirs, Himalayas), intensive displacements along strike-slips and thrusts due to collision
processes and deep lithosphere unhomogeneity (Tien Shan, Bayanhar), as well as of sharp changes of geody-
namic conditions because of influence of plate movement and supposed mantle plumes (north Mongolia, the
Baikal region).
Keywords: Lithosphere Plates, Seismicity, Active Faults, Transit Zone, Interblock Zones, Seismic Energy
1. Introduction
Central Asia includes a territory situated between the
Lake Baikal, Upper Enisei, Ob and Irtish in the north,
east Kazakhstan, Tien Shan and the Pamirs in the west,
southwest China and the Himalayas in the south, the
middle course of the Yangtze, Hwang-Ho, and Amur
rivers in the east (Figure 1). The territory is distin-
guished by a complicated geologic structure with devel-
opment of numerous suture zones of different ages. They
limit blocks joining to Eurasia (earlier to Laurasia) from
the late Precambrian to Cenozoic. Boundaries of blocks
are formed now as a rule by active faults characterizing
by intensive seismicity. In spite of that the majority of
scientists traditionally included the whole territory of
central Asia in the single Eurasian lithosphere plate. But
it contradicts with the established block structure of the
Eurasian lithosphere [1,2]. W. Morgan [3] was one of the
first who drew an active boundary within the continent
from the Pamirs through the Lake Baikal to NE Russia.
Later the geodynamic heterogeneity of central Asia and
whole Eurasia was established by the analysis of seis-
micity and active faults, which resulted in the attribution
a part of the continent to the North American Plate and
revelation of the central Asian, Amurian, Okhotsk, In-
dochina and other subplates or blocks ([4-7] and many
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Figure 1. Index map of central Asia. Brown lines show seashore and countries boundary (here and in the next figures), blue
line–rivers and lakes, gray squares–towns.
According to GPS data different blocks displace in
diverse directions [8]. Moreover, the high seismicity
characterizes not only plate boundaries, but often is dis-
tributed at considerable distance from them in inner parts
of plates. Central Asia is one of the most characteristic
examples of such distribution. The so-called “triangle” of
the maximal inner-continental seismicity can be estab-
lished there with the vertex near the Lake Baikal and the
base along the Himalayas [9]. By the way, the bisector of
its vertex nearly coincides with the GPS vector of the
Indian Plate (Figure 2). Some years ago it was shown on
the basis of seismicity, active faults and GPS data that
only the northern part of the Eurasian Plate should be
regarded as an independent and relatively indivisible
lithosphere unit, which was named the North Eurasian
Plate [8-10]. It should be to distinguish it from the Eura-
sian Plate s.l., which doesn’t exist now as an indivisible
tectonic unit and makes rather a paleotectonic sense only
(for some palinspastic reconstructions).
North Eurasian Plate boundaries are: the Gakkel Ridge
and seismoactive faults in the Chersky Range, zones of
active faults in South Verchoyanie, Stanovoi Range, the
Baikalian Rift, Altai-Sayany Region and Tien Shan, the
Figure 2. The “triangle” of the most intensive seismic activ-
ity of central Asia. Small dotes show epicenters of earth-
quakes with M 4, gray dotted line–“triangle” and its bi-
sector, black arrow–GPS vector of the Indian Plate.
Pamirs Syntax, fault zones of the Kopetdag, Caucasus,
the region west of the Black Sea, the Carpathians and
Alps. This plate is the largest indivisible tectonic unit
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IJG
within Eurasia, independent in seismic and geodynamic
aspects. Some smaller blocks limited by active faults
were established south and east of it. They reveal local
divergences in vector azimuths and velocities as in the
ITRF system as in respect to stable Eurasia.
Some scientists noted illegibility, “washing away” and
high penetrating of boundaries between main plates and
named them “diffuse boundaries” [11]. Primarily such
boundaries were established for the Indian Plate, later
there was shown their abundance. This aspect was based
on space geodetic data [12], plate non-rigidity [13], isos-
tasy data [14], digital modeling [15]. Yu. Gatinsky to-
gether with co-authors proposed to name territories with
block mosaic development as “transit zones” [10], be-
cause they divide large lithosphere plates and provide
transfer and/or relaxation of tectonic stresses that arise
between these plates. A preliminary investigation has
established transit zones dividing main lithosphere plates
of central Asia. Each of zones consists of numerous
blocks, the independent existence of which is proved by
the widespread development of active faults ascertaining
geodynamic heterogeneity of central Asia (Figure 3). In
our paper we’ll try to establish the connection of the in-
tensive seismicity with the block structure and geokine-
2. Block Structure
The main blocks of central Asia can be distinguished by
consideration the scheme of active faults and seismicity
(see Figure 3). Among them following units are visible
the most clearly: Junggar, Tarim, Qaidam, Ordos, Amurian,
SE China and some others. More detail analysis permits
to establish numerous specific blocks, which form two
transit zones between main lithosphere plates (Figure 4).
The central Asian zone separates the North Eurasian and
Indian lithosphere plates, while the East Asian zone is
situated between North Eurasian, Pacific and Philippine
plates [10]. Blocks within transit zones have different
size and composition. Tarim, Junggar, Hangay, North
and South Tibet, Ordos, and some others correspond to
single tectonic units, as a rule to the old Precambrian
massifs. Such blocks as Tien Shan, Sayany, Altai, South
Gobi, Bei Shan, Qilian, East Kunlun, West Qinlin, and
the Himalayas include mainly fragments of some older
fold belts. More large Amurian, SE China and Japanese-
Korean blocks in the East Asian transit zone have a
complex composition including different tectonic units:
old massifs, fragments of fold belts, sometimes island
arcs and deep water marginal basins. But in all cases the
blocks are limited by active faults with rather high seis-
It is worth to note that the central Asian zone is broken
down on relatively smaller blocks in comparison with the
East Asian zone (see Figure 4). It is more probably con-
nected with the influence of the pressure of the Indian
indenter. Besides that some scientists suppose existing
here double subduction process: one to the north from
the Indian Plate and the other to the south from Tarim
and Qaidam [18-20]. So the Himalayas-Tibet orogenic
belt can represent a compression region between two
subduction zones. We think that due to such process
model velocities of the horizontal displacement sharply
diminish north of Tarim (Figure 5).
Figure 3. Active faults [16] and earthquakes of central Asia. Small circles show epicenters of earthquakes after NEIC Catalog with
magnitudes: red–7.9 - 8.9, black–6.9 - 7.9, violet–5.9-6.9, and green–4.9 - 5.9. Asterisks mean epicenters of Chinese historical earth-
quakes [17] with supposed magnitudes: red–8.0 - 8.9, and black–7.0 - 7.9. Some blocks visible between active faults are signed.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IJG
Figure 4. Transit zones and crustal blocks of central Asia. Boundaries: dark blue–lithosphere plates, violet–transit zones,
green–blocks, and light blue–supposed boundaries. For epicenters see Figure 3.
Figure 5. Stress axes [21] and vectors of horizontal movements in central Asia. Stress axes correspond to: thrust (blue), slip
(green), and normal fault (red). Colored arrows show ITRF2005 vectors: GPS (red), DORIS (blue), and SLR (green). Black
arrows correspond to model vectors in respect to stable Eurasia. 102-103˚ E lineament [24] is shown by the hatched gray
stripe. For town names and not signed blocks see Figures 1 and 4.
3. Block Kinematics
The most part of the central Asian zone undergoes the
compression under the influence of the gigantic Hindu-
stan indenter with development of the transpressive ten-
sion. A predominance of strike-slip faults and thrusts
from Tibet to Tien Shan and Altai confirms these tec-
tonic conditions together with submeridional and NNE
model vectors of horizontal displacement (see Figure 5).
Velocities of the model displacement with respect to
stable Eurasia decrease from 30-35 mm/y near the colli-
sion zone up to 4-10 mm/y north in the Sayany Block.
Experimental vectors in the ITRF system are directed
mainly northeast with velocities from 48 mm/y in the
south of Tibet up to 23-25 mm/y withdrawn from the
collision zone. After calculations of Yu. Tyupkin [10] a
deviation module of experimental vectors from model
ones diminishes linearly at a distance from the Indian
Plate boundary. The module diminishing in the first ap-
proximation is correlated with the decrease in intensity
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IJG
of seismic energy releasing within the zone. But some-
times the maximal quantity of the energy releases in in-
ner parts of the transit zone at the distance 500 km-1500
km from the plate boundary.
At the same time model vectors form a characteristic
divergence with a west deflection (10˚ NE-350˚ NW)
near the west syntax of the Himalayas in NW Tibet and
Tien Shan and east deflection up to 50-70˚ NE and more
near the east syntax in SE Tibet, Qaidam and Sichuan.
Such divergence confirms Tibet “crawling off” with rift-
ing its central parts connected perhaps with moving aside
of the crust material in front of the Indian indenter [22],
including a possible influence of stress from the rela-
tively rigid Tarim Block. Some geologists explain the
vectors divergence by a slab tear model, in which the
Indian lithosphere has split into two slabs: a northward-
moving slab subducting steeply beneath the western sec-
tor of the Tibet Plateau, and a northeastward-moving slab
subducting at a low angle beneath the eastern sector of
the Plateau and the Three Rivers region [23].
Space-geodetic data on the East Asian transit zone
differ noticeably from above-mentioned results (see Fig-
ure 5). Experimental ITRF vectors are directed mainly
106˚ - 121˚ SE with velocities 26 - 35 mm/y east of the
102˚ - 103˚ E lineament, which was established in the
work [24]. A transtension tectonic regime predominates
here with development of numerous rifts in the Baikal
System, around the Ordos Block, inside the Japanese-
Korean and SE China blocks. Such sharp change of vec-
tors direction has different explanations: squeezing out
some blocks including Amurian one to the east under
influence of the collision process [25], rising of mantle
plumes underneath north Mongolia and the Lake Baikal
[26], a gravitational rolling down of crust layers from the
highly emerged Tibet Plateau [27].
4. Interblock Zones
Block boundaries as a rule are characterized by the high
tectonic activity, which takes place along relatively nar-
row interblock zones with predominant width of 50-100
km (Figure 6). They are characterized by an intensive
shattering of rocks (Figure 7) together with releasing a
significant quantity of seismic energy. The depth of hy-
pocenters within interblock zones is mainly 20- 40 km
that proves non-dip penetration of these zones in the li-
thosphere. Much rarely it can reach 80 - 240 km (the
Pamirs). Interblock zones in our interpretation are closely
Figure 6. Interblock zones and the most intensive earthquakes of central Asia. Yellow lines show approximate boundaries of
interblock zones. Epicenters with magnitudes: > 7.9 (red), 7.0 - 7.9 (black), 6.0-6.9 (violet), and 5.0 - 5.9 (dark green). Epicenters
of the most intensive earthquakes beginning from 2007 are enlarged. For asterisks and not signed blocks see Figures 3 and 4.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IJG
Figure 7. Intensive shattering and platy splitting in the Pa-
leozoic granite along NNE fissures in the west side of the
Barguzin Trough east of the Baikal Rift within the inter-
block zone between the Amurian Block and North Eurasian
Plate (photo of Yu. Gatinsky).
similar to “destructive zones of lithosphere” [28] and
“mobile zones” [29], which also divide blocks of differ-
ent sizes. Just these interblock zones include epicenters
of the majority of the most intensive earthquakes ac-
cording to instrumental and historical data (see Figure 6).
Among them such catastrophic events of 2008 year can
be mentioned as in west Tibet in March (M 7.3), in the
Sichuan Province in May (M 7.9), in the south of the
Lake Baikal in August (M 6.3) and some others. We
calculated the volume of seismic energy releasing in the
majority of interblock zones of central Asia. The most
active zones limit such blocks as the Pamirs, Tien Shan,
the Himalayas, north Tibet, and Bayanhar. A volume of
seismic energy releasing along each of them reaches 5
× 1015 J (Table 1), while along other boundaries it
doesn’t exceed 3 × 1012 - 2 × 1015 J. Making this
calculation we took 50-km bands at both sides of
boundaries. The same interblock zones are characterized
by a maximal specific energy par 1 km of their length (>
5.3 × 1012 J) and by a maximal deviation of GPS vec-
tors from average vector values of main plates.
The depth of hypocenters in the interblock zone at
south boundary of the Pamirs Block reaches the maximal
value for central Asia (160 - 240 km). They correspond
to a north-dipping slab of the Indian lithosphere plate.
Mechanisms’ solutions show the predominance of the
compression together with local left-lateral wrench faults.
The hypocenters are shallower (up to 40 - 80 km) in the
interblock zone at north boundary of the Pamirs with the
North Eurasian Plate, where also the compression pre-
dominates, but with the south-dipping Benioff Zone. The
analysis of seismic tomography data together with rheol-
ogy modeling [30] shows a rapider near vertical subduc-
tion of the Indian slab in the south and slower less slop-
ing subduction of the Eurasian slab in the north.
More differentiated picture of seismicity can be seen
in the Himalayas and Tibet. Local thrusts characterize
the boundary of the Indian Plate and the Punjab Block
besides predominating left-lateral wrench faults. The
compression prevails inside the Himalayas and in the
interblock zone at the boundary of this block with the
Indian Plate, but at the same time right-lateral wrench
faults dominate along boundaries of north and south Ti-
bet. In the west part of the central Himalayas and Tibet
the majority of hypocenters lie at the depth not deeper
than 35 km corresponding to rather shallow seismofocal
plane. It dips north from 18 to 33 km at the angle not
more than 2-3˚. Incidentally almost all-seismic energy
(83.3 × 1013 out of 87 × 10 13 J) releases in the most
surface levels [26]. It is connected with the slopping dip
of the Indian slab under Eurasia in the collision zone.
According to NEIC data the shallow-focus seismicity
characterizes interblock zones of the central Himalayas
and both Tibet blocks nearly along the whole their length.
It is in conformity with the above mentioned dip of the
Indian slab and existence of partial melting zones in the
upper crust as it follows out of INDEPTH data [31,32].
Numerous very intensive seismic events took place
within interblock zones dividing Himalayas, South and
North Tibet blocks: Bihar (M 8.1) in 1934, Zhamo (M
8.6) in 1950, Lunggar (M 6.8) in August 2008, and series
of strong earthquakes in west and central Tibet during
May 2007-March 2008 with magnitudes 6.1 - 7.3 (see
Figure 6).
The total quantity of the energy (6.358-6.376·1016 J) re-
leasing along each of interblock zones, which divide the
Bayanhar Block from East Kunlun, West Qinlin, North
Tibet, and Kam Dian blocks, is only in 2.5 lesser than en-
ergy of one of the most active North Japan subduction
zone (15.332 × 1016 J) [33] and a little more than total
energy along all north boundary of the Indian Plate (
6.096 × 1016 J). At the same time it is by order greater
than the energy of relatively weakly active subduction zones,
for example, South Ryukyu (7.913 × 1015 J). Therefore,
the most active interblock zones of central Asia
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Table 1. Interblock zones of central and East Asia with releasing specific seismic energy more than 5·10**12 J per 1 km.
Boundaries of blocks Total energy (J) Boundaries length (km)Specific energy (J)
Punjab–Indian Plate 6.99689·10**15 1305 5.361·10**12
Himalayas–Indian Plate 2.94412·10**16 3094 9.515·10**12
Pamirs–Himalayas 5.43111·10**15 532 1.021·10**13
Pamirs–North Eurasian Plate 7.26692·10**15 504 1.443·10**13
Tien Shan–North Eurasian Plate 5.63879·10**16 1421 3.968·10**13
Tien Shan–Tarim 4.84380·10**16 1683 2.877·10**13
Bayanhar–East Kunlun and West Qinlin 6.37592·10**16 1599 3.987·10**13
Bayanhar–North Tibet 6.35765·10**16 957 6.642·10**13
Bayanhar–Kam Dian 9.24193·10**15 540 1.711·10**13
Amurian–Japanese-Korean 6.63646·10**16 3205 2.070·10**13
Andaman’s-West Myanmar–Indian Plate 2.44456·10**16 2639 9.262·10**12
Shan–Indochina-Sunda 8.54442·10**15 1443 5.923·10**12
differ from subduction and collision zones mainly by the
depth of their penetration in the lithosphere and underly-
ing upper mantle and are rather near to them by the vo-
lume of releasing seismic energy. Some intensive earth-
quakes with M > 7 took place along SW and NE inter-
block zones of the Bayanhar Block according to histori-
cal and instrumental data (see Figure 6), but the strong
Wenchuan event occurred in May 2008 within the less
active SE interblock zone.
Sharp increasing of the seismic energy quantity is
closely connected in interblock zones with mobility of
blocks and anomalies of the lithosphere structure. Let’s
examine it on examples of two regions of intensive seis-
mic events–SE part of the Bayanhar Block and NW side
of the Amurian Block. Mechanism solutions show the
left-lateral strike-slip displacement in the NE and SW
interblock zones of the Bayanhar Block (Figure 8). This
allows supposing its clock-wise rotation. As a result the
compression arises in the SE boundary of the block,
where the disastrous Wenchuan earthquake (M 7.9) took
place. This boundary stretches along the large Longmen
Shan Fault. Thrusting to the SE China Block occurs there
according to geological data [17]. Field investigations
immediately after the earthquake showed a strong hori-
zontal shortening along the NW-dipping rupture with
thrusting to south-east together with small dextral slip-
ping [34].
A volume of the total seismic energy releasing in the
east boundary of the Bayanhar Block (beginning from
1973 and before later events in 2008-2009) comes only
to 1.131 × 1015 J [35]. Apparently a period of the rela-
tive “seismic gap” takes place there since the last strong
earthquake (M 7.4) occurred in 1973. The slow accumu-
lation of the seismic energy during that period was re-
laxed by the Wenchuan earthquake in May 2008 and
now the volume of energy in this boundary mounts to 9
251 × 1016 J (Figure 9).
Experimental GPS vectors confirm the clock-wise ro-
tation of the Bayanhar Block (see Figures 8 and 9). It is
likely also that only upper part of the crust participates in
such rotation, because low velocity layers are established
by seismic tomography data in the east half of the Ba-
yanhar Block at the depth 20 – 30 km [36]. A clock-wise
rotation of this part of central Asia is proved also by the
finite fault model, fulfilled by Chen Ji [37] for the Wen-
chuan earthquake. Some researches suppose that a
change of vectors is connected with the crust layering
and layers rolling down from the highly emerged Tibet
Plateau [27]. Results of INDEPTH seismic and mag-
neto-telluric soundings give indirect evidences of such
process. They establish some layers of increased plastic-
ity and partial melting of rocks in the Tibet crust at the
depth 20- 30 km [31,32]. The SE boundary of the Ba-
yanhar Block coincides with the sharp step in the crust
and in the whole lithosphere along the lineament of 102˚
- 103˚ E [24] with intensive decreasing lithosphere thick-
ness to the east [36].
The above-mentioned lineament stretches north through
north China, central Mongolia, and SW edge of the Lake
Baikal, where the Kultuk earthquake (M 6.3) took place
in 2008 within the interblock zone divided the Amurian
Block and north Eurasian Plate (see Figure 6). Irkutsk
scientists [38] established there the predominant clock-
wise rotation by the data of local GPS net, vectors of
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Figure 8. Seismicity and geokinematics of the Wenchuan earthquake (12.05.2008) region in the Sichuan Province of China
and adjacent territories before the Wenchuan event (the end of 2007). Mechanism solution (CMT) for the majority of epicen-
ters is shown. Red arrows correspond to GPS vectors in ITRF system; black arrows show the direction of displacement along
strike slips in boundaries of the Bayanhar Block. Light brown dotted lines correspond to boundaries of interblock zones. L –
Longmen Shan Fault. Red figures show a value of the total seismic energy for each interblock zone of the Bayanhar Block.
For asterisks see Figure 3.
Figure 9. The same territory after the Wenchuan event (the end of 2009). The SE interblock zone between the Bayanhar and
SE China blocks is shown with the abnormally high volume of the seismic energy within it and epicenters of the Wenchuan
earthquake, its aftershocks as well as later events of 2008-2009. The hatched gray stripe corresponds to the zone of 102˚ -103˚
E lineament. For town and river names see Figure 8.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IJG
which change gradually from NNE to ENE, east and ESE.
Such change of GPS vector directions is corroborated by
the change of the tension regiment west and east of the
south edge of the Lake Baikal (see Figure 5). Some au-
thors of this paper together with geologists of the Irkutsk
Earth Crust Institute RAS fulfilled field itineraries in the
summer of 2008 at the NW boundary of the Amurian
Block. Transpressive tensions predominate in the west
from the SW edge of the Lake Baikal in the Tunka Trough,
where left-lateral strike-slips are developed. More to
west in the East Sayany Mountains they are accompanied
by NE thrusts, which are proved by orientation of stress
axes. Strike-slips clearly result in the Tunka trough in
displacement of streamlet thalwegs and left-lateral mov-
ing along the Main Sayan Fault (Figure 10) after earth-
quake mechanisms. But incidentally strike-slips are re-
placed in the east by later normal faults in flanks of the
Barguzin depression, which is included in the Baikal Rift
System east of the Lake Baikal. The earlier strike-slips
give rise to seismic dislocations displacing thalwegs of
right lateral tributaries of the Barguzin River. The later
normal faults disturbing these strike-slips go through all
rocks from the Paleozoic granite to the Quaternary allu-
vium (Figure 11 and 12).
The mantle plume formation can be one more cause of
the high seismicity in the Baikal region. It is supposed by
S-waves velocities distribution and recent plume- con-
nected volcanism development [26,39]. Projections of
these velocities decreasing coincide with maximal heat
flow anomalies and most intensive earthquakes distribu-
tion. So we can suppose that in this part of central Asia
more intensive seismicity coincides with the astheno-
sphere roof rising.
Therefore, the significant change of the horizontal dis-
placement direction is established for blocks of the in-
vestigated part of central Asia. It most probably has di-
rect influence in the distribution of intensive earthquakes
arising together with anomalies of the lithosphere deep
structure. Submeridional and NNE vectors predominate
in the central Asian transit zone, where the transpressive
neotectonic regime prevails. At the same time mainly
east and southeast directed vectors are distributed in the
East Asian zone in conditions of the transtensive regime.
Such inference coincides with the more detail analysis of
recent kinematics in the Baikal Rift System and adjacent
territory. The most intensive seismic events in intra-craton
environment of central Asia are connected with active
interblock zones, which divide crust or mantle-crust
blocks. The tectonic energy relaxation due to interaction
of main lithosphere plates takes place not only in their
boundaries, but also in these interblock zones as a result
of interaction between blocks.
Note one more peculiarity of the seismic energy dis-
tribution within the examined area. Blocks, which are
bounded by high seismic interblock zones, not always
have the high density of the seismic energy inside them.
The energy density for such blocks as the Pamirs, Tien
Shan and the Himalayas comes to 1.67-1.98·108 J/km2/y.
At the same time for Tarim, Qaidam and Tibet it comes
to (0.38-0.51)·108, but for Amurian and Indochina-Sunda
Figure 10. The left-lateral main sayany fault near the north side of the Tunka trough west of the south edge of the Lake Bai-
kal (all photos of Yu. Gatinsky).
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Figure 11. Fault-planes (slickensides) of normal faults in the
Paleozoic granites of the Barguzin Massif east of the Baikal
Figure 12. Fault-planes (slickensides) of normal faults in the
west side of the Barguzin Trough in the Quaternary allu-
vium east of the Baikal Rift.
blocks only (0.05-0.15) × 108. In comparison with that
the energy density reaches (3.91-12.1) × 108 J/km2/yr
for Philippine blocks over the Pacific subduction zone.
Authors fulfilled all calculations of the seismic energy in
this paper using the method from the work [40].
5. Conclusions
1) The up-to-date geodynamics of central Asia is defined
by the interaction of North Eurasian and Indian plates,
which results in mosaic neotectonic structure of this ter-
ritory. Numerous crust blocks form there the central
Asian and East Asian transit zones.
2) The significant change of horizontal displacement
direction is established for blocks of the investigated re-
gion after space-geodetic data. Submeridional and NNE
vectors predominate in the central Asian zone, where the
transpressive neotectonic regime prevails. At the same
time mainly east and SE vectors are distributed in the East
Asian zone in conditions of mainly transtensive regime.
3) Most intensive seismic events in central Asia are
connected with active zones, which divide crust blocks.
The tectonic energy relaxation due to interaction of main
lithosphere plates takes place not only in their boundaries,
but just in these interblock zones, which are often situ-
ated at the long distance from boundaries of main plates.
4) Most active interblock zones of central Asia differ
from subduction and collision zones by depth of their
penetration in the lithosphere and at the same time are
rather near to them by the volume of energy realizing.
5) An abnormal high seismic energy releasing depends
of deep continuation of the plate slab in collision zones
(the Pamirs, Himalayas), intensive displacements along
strike-slips and thrusts due to collision processes and
deep lithosphere unhomogeneity (Tien Shan, Bayanhar),
as well as of sharp changes of geodynamic conditions
because of influence of plate movement and supposed
mantle plumes (North Mongolia, the Baikal Region).
6. Acknowledgements
This investigation is fulfilled with assistance of the Pre-
sidium RAS, Moscow (Program 4 “Appraisal and means
of decreasing consequences of up-to-date tectonic move-
ments and earthquakes in regions of existing and pro-
jected nuclear power-stations in the territory of Russia
and neighboring foreign countries”) and Russian Foun-
dation for Basic Research (Project no. 09-05-00666).
7. References
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