International Workshop: Active Tectonics in the Tien Shan, 11–12 October, 2018



Download the programme here (PDF, 411 kB)



  • Thomas Voigt, FSU Jena
  • Roland Zech, FSU Jena
  • Richard T. Walker, University of Oxford


Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Institute of Geological Sciences, Großer Hörsaal, Burgweg 11, 07749 Jena, Germany


The Tien Shan in Central Asia is a key location for the study of crustal deformation. Here we can observe the effect of continental collision away from the actual India-Eurasia plate boundary. The orogeny accommodates 10-20 mm/yr of north-south convergence by thrust faulting, conjugate strike-slip faulting, and folding, leading to mountain growth and to the deformation of intra- and intermontane sedimentary basins. Additional benefits are the various climatic conditions in different parts of the Tien Shan and the fact that the area is relatively easy to access. All this makes the Tien Shan a hotspot of research on active tectonics, on the interaction of climate and tectonics, and on landscape evolution, as evidence by a recent peak in publications.

The objective of this workshop was bringing together scientists working on Tien Shan active tectonics and closely related disciplines in a small, but very focussed meeting. Participants came from the fields of tectonics, geomorphology, Quaternary dating methods, thermochronology, paleoseismology, and climate research. The workshop was designed to provide a comprehensive overview of the latest findings and concepts. This was be achieved by presenting results from field studies, seismicity studies, improved geochronology and dating, and remote sensing/geodesy research. A special focus was be set on discussing methodological advances and newly available datasets.

Besides the leading scientists in this field, a large number of early career researchers participated in the workshop, which enables them to build an international scientific network and to place their research in a broader perspective. The rather small and focussed setting of the workshop provided an ideal frame for detailed discussions. The workshop also aimed at developing future joint research projects and to foster international, interdisciplinary collaboration among the participants.

We focussed on very recent tectonics and strong earthquakes in the Tien Shan, and the associated consequences for environment and population/infrastructure. The subject areas comprise active tectonics research such as tectonic geomorphology, seismology, and paleoseismology, as well as studies on geochronology/Quaternary dating and Pleistocene/Holocene climate conditions in the Tien Shan. These disciplines combined provide the key to better understand the tectonic evolution of the Tien Shan as a model region for continental deformation. For example, recent studies have shown that the deposition and erosion of sediments commonly studied in paleoseismological and geomorphological research is strongly influenced by climatic events. On the other hand, the role of localised tectonic uplift and subsidence in trapping sediments like loess and alluvial material is now better understood. Recent advances in Quaternary dating methods such as luminescence and cosmogenic nuclide dating have vastly improved our ability to measure rates of tectonic deformation. Another emerging point of discussion is the understanding of methodological uncertainties. Researchers from these disciplines therefore profit from joint discussions of advantages and pitfalls inherit in such approaches, and new research strategies can be developed.

The advantage compared to larger meetings like EGU or the annual meetings of the national societies was that we brought together an international group with a very well-defined, mutual scientific interest. The workshop could build on an already high level of knowledge shared by all participants, and thus enabled a much more in-depth scientific discussion. No similar forum of this kind exists, but an earlier workshop held in 2015 in Oxford showed that there is a high demand within the community.







This workshop is supported by the German Science Foundation - DFG.


Meldung vom: 2018-09-17 10:00
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