The Middle East oil fields, the existence of which is the result of an 'unusual favorable superposition of factors controlling oil accumulation,' occupy the southern foredeep of the Alpine orogenic zone and the borders of the unstable shelf separating the foredeep from the stable Arabian shield. Orogenic movements began in the late Triassic and ended in the late Miocene or Pliocene; they formed the present structures of the Toros-Zagros section of the Alpine orogenic belt. In addition to gliding phenomena (gravity nappes) along the fronts of these folds, the presence of overthrust nappes of Alpine dimensions is established. This signifies the existence of a strong horizontal (tangential) stress directed toward the foredeep. The stratigraphic and lithologic development, and the tectonic features of the foredeep and the border zone of the shelf, reflect the influence of the orogenic and resulting cratogenic movements.

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