Progressive unconformities within an evolving foreland fold-thrust belt, Zagros Mountains

K. Hessami, H. A. Koyi, C. J. Talbot, H. Tabasi, E. Shabanian

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286 Scopus citations


A major angular unconformity between the Bakhtyari conglomerates and the underlying Agha Jari Formation has long been interpreted as indicating that orogeny in the Zagros Simply Folded Zone took place in Plio-Pleistocene times. This study uses field evidence of unconformities between older units in conjunction with geological maps and cross sections to argue that the front of the Zagros Simply Folded Zone has propagated in time and space. These unconformities indicate that deformation started as early as end Eocene in the northeast of the Simply Folded Zone and propagated progressively to the southwest, where unconformable contacts are only seen between younger units. As shortening continued, the southwest migration of the deformation front drove the foreland basin in front of it to its present position along the Persian Gulf and Mesopotamia. The climax of orogeny took place at end Pliocene time when the most extensive unconformity in the Zagros Simply Folded Zone developed between the (upper) Bakhtyari Formation and older units. Active seismicity and documented present uplift imply that the Simply Folded Zone is still propagating southwestward.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)969-982
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Geological Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001


  • Folds
  • Iran
  • Orogeny
  • Unconformities
  • Zagros


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