International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 94, Issue 3, pp 401–419 | Cite as

Convergence history across Zagros (Iran): constraints from collisional and earlier deformation

  • P. AgardEmail author
  • J. Omrani
  • L. Jolivet
  • F. Mouthereau
Original paper


The Zagros orogen provides a unique opportunity within the Alpine system to evaluate the interplay between a young Tertiary collision and earlier subduction/obduction processes. Within the Crush zone and the Sanandaj–Sirjan (internal) zone separating the Zagros Fold belt from Central Iran, we document several major tectonic events taking place at the end of the Cretaceous, of the Eocene and from the Mio–Pliocene onwards (ca. <20–15 Ma). Contrary to recent interpretations, our data (cross-sections and description of the overall deformation style) strongly suggest that the Main Zagros Thrust (MZT) is deeply rooted, possibly to Moho depths, and that the suture zone effectively runs along the MZT. Field observations show that the final resorption of the oceanic domain took place slightly after 35 Ma and that collision must have started before ca. 23–25 Ma in northern Zagros. The shortening rate across the Crush zone since the Mid-Miocene (20–15 Ma) is estimated at a minimum 3–4 mm/year. Shear movements in the Crush zone during the Eocene–Oligocene period and extensional/strike-slip movements in the internal zones during the late Cretaceous point to an oblique setting early in the convergence history. A geotectonic scenario for convergence from the time of obduction to the present is finally proposed.


Collision Iran Main Zagros Thrust Sanandaj–Sirjan zone Geodynamic evolution 



This work was sponsored by the CNRS program INSU/Interieur de la Terre (2002) and, marginally, by the Middle East Basin Evolution (MEBE) program. The authors are grateful to the Geological Survey of Iran and D. Hatzfeld for their constant help and cooperation. Anne Paul and Ayoub Kaviani are warmly thanked for providing the latest results of their seismic profile located south of our study area, as is Daniel Neuville for giving access to the IPGP Raman facilities. Special thanks go to Amou Choukri, A. Haghipour, M-F Brunet and E. Barrier. Comments from R. Oberhansli and two other reviewers greatly helped improving this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Agard
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. Omrani
    • 1
    • 2
  • L. Jolivet
    • 1
  • F. Mouthereau
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de TectoniqueUniversité Paris 6ParisFrance
  2. 2.Geological Survey of IranTehranIran

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