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Authors: Mattei, M.* 
Cifelli, F.* 
Alimohammadian, H.* 
Rashid, H.* 
Winkler, A.* 
Sagnotti, L.* 
Title: Oroclinal bending in the Alborz Mountains (Northern Iran): New constraints on the age of South Caspian subduction and extrusion tectonics
Issue Date: 2017
Series/Report no.: /42 (2017)
DOI: 10.1016/
Keywords: Paleomagnetism Alborz Iran orocline
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.05. Geomagnetism::04.05.06. Paleomagnetism 
Abstract: In this study, we report an extensive paleomagnetic study (76 sites) carried out in the Alborz Mts. (northern Iran), with the aim of reconstructing the rotation history and the origin of curvature of this orogenic chain. The analyzed deposits are the sedimentary successions of the Upper Red Formation (Miocene), Lower Red Formation (Oligocene) and Eocene clastic units. Paleomagnetic results indicate that the Alborz Mts. can be considered a secondary arc that originated as a linearmountain belt that progressively acquired its present day curvature through opposite vertical axis rotations along its strike. The curvature of the arc was entirely acquired after the middlelate Miocene,which is the age of the youngest investigated sediments (Upper Red Formation). Overall, our paleomagnetic data indicate that the Alborz Mts. can be considered an orocline. Our results define, for the first time, the rotational history of the entire Alborz curved mountain belt, and enable us to reconstruct the paleogeographic and tectonic evolution of northern Iran in the framework of Arabia-Eurasia continental deformation. The kinematics inferred by the pattern of paleomagnetic rotations is at odds with the present day kinematics of northern Iran, characterized by the westward extrusion of the South Caspian block, and by a left lateral shear between Central Iran and the central and western sectors of the Alborz Mts. By integrating paleomagnetic datawith stratigraphic, thermochronological, structural and GPS information,we propose that the initiation of South Caspian subduction and the activation of westward extrusion of South Caspian block occurred diachronously and that the initiation of the present-day kinematics of northern Iran was quite recent (Lower Pleistocene, b2 Ma).
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