From the Devonian to possibly the early Carboniferous, the Arabian and adjacent plates were structurally affected by a regional Hercynian (Variscan) tectonic event. This tectonic event is interpreted to be the crustal response to regional compression caused by the initiation of subduction of the Palaeo-Tethyan oceanic crust near the margin of Gondwana along Turkey and Iran. The uplifted areas associated with this tectonic event were largely eroded during the late Carboniferous and early Permian when glacio-fluviatile and marginal marine conditions prevailed.

The Palaeozoic era closed in the late Permian with a major transgression which deposited massive carbonates over most of a peneplaned Arabian plate. Also in late Permian, as well as Triassic, active rifting along the Zagros suture projected extensional stresses across the Arabian plate causing substantial extensional movements along most major basement-controlled, fault systems.

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