Sasvari, A., L. Davies, A. Mann, J. Afzal, G. Vakarcs and E. Iwaniw 2015. Dachstein-type Avroman Formation: An indicator of the Harsin Basin in Iraq. GeoArabia, v. 20, no. 4, p. 17-36.


A field survey was carried out in 2012 focusing on the tectonic position and the role of Upper Triassic (Upper Norian–Rhaetian) Avroman Formation outcrops located in the Zalm area of Iraq, close to the Iraq-Iran border. At this location, the Cretaceous chert-bearing strata of the Qulqula Formation are overlain by sheared mafic bodies, which are in turn topped by the cliffs of the megalodontaceaebearing Upper Triassic Avroman Formation. Similarities in lithology, sequence and tectonics position, suggest that the Triassic section of the Bisotoun Unit from the Kermanshah Zone of Iran can be used as a tectonic analogue of the Avroman Formation. According to our model, both the Avroman and the Bisotoun units formed an intra-oceanic carbonate platform, built-up by a characteristic megalodontaceae-bearing carbonate platform assemblage during the Late Triassic. The Harsin oceanic basin, which separated the Avroman-Bisotoun Platform from the Arabian Platform, was characterised by deep-marine sedimentation, the remnants of which form the Qulqula Formation in Iraq, and the Radiolaritic Nappe and the Harsin Melange in the Kermanshah Zone. This tectonic setting is not unique; numerous authors suggest the existence of an oceanic rim basin, separating carbonate platform units (e.g. Oman ‘exotics’) from the Arabian Platform. The age of the deformation could be Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian), but using analogues from Iran, a Palaeogene deformation also seems possible. The Avroman Formation was interpreted to be a Dachstein-type sediment, similar to the well-studied Dachstein Formation of the Northern Calcareous Alps, Austria. Rock units, with similar lithology, or identical depositional environment and macroscopic fauna, were described by numerous authors along the Neo- Tethys suture zone from Austria to Japan, and from several tectonic units along the Panthalassa margin. The implication of this correlation is important for future studies: using well-described type localities of the marine units from the Northern Calcareous Alps as a reference, it is possible to significantly extend the available background knowledge, and to gain better insight into the Triassic regional depositional environment of the Middle East.

MEGREF : 16323
Publication Year : 2015
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