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Authors: Mattei, Massimo* 
Visconti, Andrea Leonardo* 
Cifelli, Francesca* 
Nozaem, Reza* 
Winkler, Aldo* 
Sagnotti, Leonardo* 
Title: Clockwise paleomagnetic rotations in northeastern Iran: Major implications on recent geodynamic evolution of outer sectors of the Arabia-Eurasia collision zone
Issue Date: 2019
Series/Report no.: /71 (2019)
DOI: 10.1016/
Abstract: In this study, an extensive paleomagnetic sampling (70 sites) was carried out in north-eastern Iran with the aim of reconstructing the rotation history of the outer margin of the Eurasia-Arabia collision area represented by the Ala-Dagh, Binalud and Kopeh-Dagh mountain belts. We sampled the red beds units from the Lower Cretaceous Shurijeh Fm. and from the Middle-Upper Miocene Upper Red Fm (URF). Paleomagnetic results from all the sampled areas show a homogeneous amount of CW rotations measured in the above-mentioned Formations. These paleomagnetic results suggest that the oroclinal bending process that caused the curvature of Alborz mountain belt in north Iran after the Middle-Late Miocene, also extended to the Ala-Dagh, Binalud and Kopeh-Dagh mountain belts, at the north-eastern border of the Arabia-Eurasia deforming zone. Based on our paleomagnetic results and on GPS, seismological, geomorphological and structural data available in the area, a hypothesis of tectonic evolution of the northern Iran-South Caspian Basin area, from Middle-Late Miocene to Present, is here proposed. In this model, the initiation of the oroclinal bending processes in northern Iran occurred about 6–4 myr ago, related to the impinging of North Iran between the South Caspian block and the southern margin of the Turan platform, driven by the northward subduction of the South Caspian basement under the Aspheron-Balkhan Sill. As paleomagnetic results from this study show a pattern of vertical axis rotations that is inconsistent with the present-day kinematics of the northern Iranian blocks as described by seismicity and GPS data, we suggest that the tectonic processes responsible for the bending of northern Iran mountain chains are no longer active and that the westward motion of the South Caspian basin, and therefore the initiation of opposite strike-slip motion along the Ashk-Abad and Shahrud faults, occurred very recently (∼2 My ago). We therefore propose that initiation of the northward subduction of the South Caspian basin below the Apsheron-Balkhan Sill and the westward extrusion of the South Caspian block did not occur at the same time, with the former occurring between the late Miocene and the Pliocene, and the latter during the Pleistocene.
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