Document Type: Research Paper
Research Institute for Earth Sciences, Geological Survey of Iran, Tehran, Iran
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Univeristà di Milano-Bicocca, Piazza della Scienza 4, 20126 Milano, Italy
This article provides a background for scientists interested in a general overview of the geology and geomorphology of Turkmenistan. The basement of Turkmenistan is a complex amalgamation of arc-related terranes developed in the Asiatic and northern Paleotethys oceanic domains during Late Paleozoic to Triassic times. A major part of the country coincides with the Turan Platform, where a thick sedimentary succession accumulated between Late Paleozoic and Cenozoic. Sedimentation rates culminated during Middle Jurassic times, being more eminent in the Kopeh-Dagh Province to the south due to backarc extension in remote regions of the Neotethys subduction zone. Closure of the Neotethys, and collisional events in the regions to the south resulted in inversion of the tectonic regime into a compressional setting in Early Cenozoic. The Caspian Province in western Turkmenistan recorded a geological and tectonic history very similar to that of the South Caspian Basin in Cenozoic times. Major gas and oil fields have developed in different petroleum systems of the Turan and Caspian Provinces. Dynamics of the Karakum desert and evolving drainages across it have a major bearing on the geomorphology and environment of Turkmenistan. Major structural features of the country are described, and attractive geological features are introduced.