Zagros Mountains

The Zagros fold and thrust belt was formed by the collision of two tectonic plates, the Eurasian Plate and the Arabian Plate. This collision primarily happened during the Miocene and folded the entire rocks that had been deposited from the Carboniferous to the Miocene in the geosyncline in front of the Iranian Plate. The process of collision continues to the present and as the Arabian Plate is being pushed against the Eurasian Plate, the Zagros Mountains and the Iranian Plateau are getting higher and higher. Recent GPS measurements in Iran have shown that this collision is still active and the resulting deformation is distributed non-uniformly in the country, mainly taken up in the major mountain belts like Alborz and Zagros. A relatively dense GPS network which covered the Iranian Zagros also proves a high rate of deformation within the Zagros. The GPS results show that the current rate of shortening in the southeast Zagros is ~10 mm/a (0. 39 in/year), dropping to ~5 mm/a (0. 20 in/year) in the northwest Zagros. The north-south Kazerun strike-slip fault divides the Zagros into two distinct zones of deformation. The GPS results also show different shortening directions along the belt, normal shortening in the southeast and oblique shortening in the northwest Zagros. The Zagros mountains were created around the time of the second ice age, which caused the tectonic collision, leading to its uniqueness.

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