Hinsch, R. and B. Bretis 2015. A semi-balanced section in the northwestern Zagros region: Constraining the structural architecture of the Mountain Front Flexure in the Kirkuk Embayment, Iraq. GeoArabia, v. 20, no. 4, p. 41-62.


The Mountain Front Flexure or Fault (MFF) of the Zagros Mountains separates the foreland or foothills area from the morphological apparent mountain belt. Across this feature the regional elevations of Mesozoic to Neogene stratigraphic horizons substantially rise towards the mountain belt. Thin-skinned and thick-skinned structural styles have been proposed for this rise in other parts of the Zagros region. In our study area, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), we integrated surface and subsurface data and constructed a (semi-) balanced cross-section across the MFF. The section features duplex structures in the deeper subsurface, related to a deeper Palaeozoic and a shallower Triassic decollement horizon. On a smaller scale, layer-parallel shortening and intense deformation is observed in the incompetent lithologies, leading to an incipient disharmonic folding. Restoration of the section reveals a distinct imbalance between shortening in the upper part of the stratigraphic section (approximately 4 km or 16% on top Jurassic level) to the lower part (approximately 20 km or 49% on top Permian level). The imbalance can only be equalised on a regional section if the shortening is transferred from the lower to the higher decollement levels, which is connected to folds and thrusts in the foothills area. Based on observations from the mechanical stratigraphy, geometric relationships in map and cross-section, as well as morphological considerations, we argue that the origin of the MFF in the area of the considered section is related to active roof duplexes rather than basement-involved thrusting.

MEGREF : 16321
Publication Year : 2015
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