structural style of the Makran Tertiary accretionary complex in SE-Iran

  • J.-P. BurgEmail author
  • A. Dolati
  • D. Bernoulli
  • J. Smit
Conference paper
Part of the Frontiers in Earth Sciences book series (FRONTIERS)


We report new structural descriptions and measurements carried out across the onshore Makran Accretionary Wedge, in SE Iran. Complementary geological mapping led to the identification of four main tectono-stratigraphic units separated by major thrust zones. From the north to the south, i.e. from top to bottom, these major thrust sheets are called North-, Inner-, Outer- and Coastal-Makran. The Bashakerd Thrust that emplaced North on Inner Makran separates two geologically different domains. North Makran includes ophiolites obducted in Late Cretaceous to Paleogene times and a tectonic assemblage of Cretaceous to Paleogene? deep-sea sediments and volcanics, the so-called “Coloured Mélange”, whereas from Inner Makran to the South, a Miocene to Recent fold-and-thrust belt constitutes the upper part of the Makran Accretionary Wedge. Inner and Outer Makran began to form before the catastrophic emplacement of a Tortonian olistostrome. Folding accompanying thrusting pertains to a continuous history that, however, was not evenly distributed in terms of location and amplification rates of individual folds, yet developed altogether in Middle Miocene to Pliocene times. Most of the deformation was shifted after emplacement of the olistostrome to the present-day submarine wedge, and Coastal Makran evolved into a wedge-top basin with shallower water and continental sedimentation. The juxtaposition of two wedges of different age makes it difficult to average the surface slope and to conclude that Makran is a mature wedge with one of the lowest taper angles, worldwide. Owing to internal strain and syn-sedimentary tectonic processes, it is likely that the Makran maintained an equilibrium triangular cross-sectional shape to grow into a larger similar wedge.


Accretionary wedge Makran Structural analysis 



The Swiss National Fond supports this project (N°2-77 634-05). Financial contribution and support from the MEBE program and the Geological Survey of Iran are also acknowledged. We are indebted to L. Hottinger, C. Müller and S. Spezzafferri for numerous fossil determinations. Sincere thanks are extended to the many people who hosted and helped us in remote places of the Makran. Reviews by Jean Letouzey and Jaume Vergès helped clarifying our descriptions and interpretations.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • J.-P. Burg
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Dolati
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. Bernoulli
    • 1
    • 3
  • J. Smit
    • 1
  1. 1.ETH and University ZurichZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Geological Survey IranTehranIran
  3. 3.Geology InstituteUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland

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