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Contrasting styles of convergence in the Arabia-Eurasia collision: Why escape tectonics does not occur in Iran

By
Mark B. Allen
Mark B. Allen
CASP, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England
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Eric J.-P. Blanc
Eric J.-P. Blanc
CASP, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England
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Richard Walker
Richard Walker
Bullard Laboratories, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, England
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James Jackson
James Jackson
Bullard Laboratories, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England
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Morteza Talebian
Morteza Talebian
Geological Survey of Iran, Tehran, Iran
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Mohammad R. Ghassemi
Mohammad R. Ghassemi
Geological Survey of Iran, Tehran, Iran
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Published:
January 01, 2006

The westward motion of Turkey relative to Eurasia between the North and East Anatolian faults has been cited as one of the best examples of lateral transport of continental crust from a collision zone, in this case the Arabia-Eurasia collision. This process is variously called “escape” or “extrusion” tectonics. Range-parallel strike-slip faults within the Alborz (e.g., the Mosha fault) and Zagros Mountains (the Main Recent fault) of Iran have been regarded as playing roles similar to those of the North and East Anatolian faults in that they are responsible for the eastward transport of intervening Iranian crust away from the northward motion of the Arabia plate relative to Eurasia. However, both seismicity and GPS data show that there is no net eastward transport of Iranian crust with respect to Eurasia. Here we summarize how the tectonically active mountain ranges of Iran deform by combinations of thrusting and strike-slip movement oblique to the overall convergence vector across each region, without requiring net eastward movement with respect to Eurasia. A general conclusion is that strike-slip faults in collision zones can have different roles. These include not only the lateral transport of crustal material demonstrated in Turkey, but also the partitioning of strain into shortening and strike-slip components shown by the Alborz and Zagros structures and the accommodation of crustal shortening by strike-slip faults that rotate about a vertical axis.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Postcollisional Tectonics and Magmatism in the Mediterranean Region and Asia

Yildirim Dilek
Yildirim Dilek
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Spyros Pavlides
Spyros Pavlides
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Geological Society of America
Volume
409
ISBN print:
9780813724096
Publication date:
January 01, 2006

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