GPS network monitors the Arabia-Eurasia collision deformation in Iran
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The rate of crustal deformation in Iran due to the Arabia–Eurasia collision is estimated. The results are based on new global positioning system (GPS) data. In order to address the problem of the distribution of the deformation in Iran, Iranian and French research organizations have carried out the first large-scale GPS survey of Iran. A GPS network of 28 sites (25 in Iran, two in Oman and one in Uzbekistan) has been installed and surveyed twice, in September 1999 and October 2001. Each site has been surveyed for a minimum observation of 4 days. GPS data processing has been done using the GAMIT-GLOBK software package. The solution displays horizontal repeatabilities of about 1.2 mm in 1999 and 2001. The resulting velocities allow us to constrain the kinematics of the Iranian tectonic blocks. These velocities are given in ITRF2000 and also relative to Eurasia. This last kinematic model demonstrates that (1) the north–south shortening from Arabia to Eurasia is 2–2.5 cm/year, less than previously estimated, and (2) the transition from subduction (Makran) to collision (Zagros) is very sharp and governs the different styles of deformation observed in Iran. In the eastern part of Iran, most of the shortening is accommodated in the Gulf of Oman, while in the western part the shortening is more distributed from south to north. The large faults surrounding the Lut block accommodate most of the subduction–collision transition.
KeywordsPlate collision Deformation Global positioning system Iran Alpine-Himalayan collision zone
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The Iran Global GPS project was sponsored by the National Cartographic Centre (NCC – Tehran), the French CNRS-INSU ‘Intérieur de la Terre’ programme, the International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and seismology (IIEES – Tehran). The GPS receivers were provided by CNRS-INSU and NCC. We would like to thank all the French and Iranian participants who helped during the fieldwork to make this study successful.