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Middle to late Cenozoic basin evolution in the western Alborz Mountains: Implications for the onset of collisional deformation in northern Iran

Guest, Bernard and Horton, Brian K. and Axen, Gary J. and Hassanzadeh, Jamshid and McIntosh, William C. (2007) Middle to late Cenozoic basin evolution in the western Alborz Mountains: Implications for the onset of collisional deformation in northern Iran. Tectonics, 26 (6). Art. No. TC6011. ISSN 0278-7407. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20130820-150203818

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Abstract

Oligocene-Miocene strata preserved in synclinal outcrop belts of the western Alborz Mountains record the onset of Arabia-Eurasia collision-related deformation in northern Iran. Two stratigraphic intervals, informally named the Gand Ab and Narijan units, represent a former basin system that existed in the Alborz. The Gand Ab unit is composed of marine lagoonal mudstones, fluvial and alluvial-fan clastic rocks, fossiliferous Rupelian to Burdigalian marine carbonates, and basalt flows yielding ^(40)Ar/^(39)Ar ages of 32.7 ± 0.3 and 32.9 ± 0.2 Ma. The Gand Ab unit is correlated with the Oligocene–lower Miocene Qom Formation of central Iran and is considered a product of thermal subsidence following Eocene extension. The Narijan unit unconformably overlies the Gand Ab unit and is composed of fluvial-lacustrine and alluvial fan sediments exhibiting contractional growth strata. We correlate the Narijan unit with the middle to upper Miocene Upper Red Formation of central Iran on the basis of lithofacies similarities, stratigraphic position, and an 8.74 ± 0.15 Ma microdiorite dike (^(40)Ar/^(39)Ar) that intruded the basal strata. Deformation timing is constrained by crosscutting relationships and independent thermochronological data. The Parachan thrust system along the eastern edge of the ancestral Taleghan-Alamut basin is cut by dikes dated at 8.74 ± 0.15 Ma to 6.68 ± 0.07 Ma (^(40)Ar/^(39)Ar). Subhorizontal gravels that unconformably overlie tightly folded and faulted Narijan strata are capped by 2.86 ± 0.83 Ma (^(40)Ar/^(39)Ar) andesitic lava flows. These relationships suggest that Alborz deformation had migrated southward into the Taleghan-Alamut basin by late Miocene time and shifted to its present location along the active range front by late Pliocene time. Data presented here demonstrate that shortening in the western Alborz Mountains had started by late middle Miocene time. This estimate is consistent with recent thermochronological results that place the onset of rapid exhumation in the western Alborz at ∼12 Ma. Moreover, nearly synchronous Miocene contraction in the Alborz, Zagros Mountains, Turkish-Iranian plateau, and Anatolia suggests that the Arabia-Eurasia collision affected a large region simultaneously, without a systematic outward progression of mountain building away from the collision zone.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2006TC002091 DOIArticle
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2006TC002091/abstractPublisherArticle
Additional Information:© 2007 by the American Geophysical Union. Received 4 December 2006; revised 7 May 2007; accepted 19 July 2007; published 21 December 2007. This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (grant EAR-9902932 to G. J. Axen), University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Council on Research (G. J. Axen), the University of Tehran Research Council (grant 651/1/328 to J. Hassanzadeh), and a UCLA Department of Earth and Space Sciences Cross-Training Fellowship (B. Guest and G. Peltzer). The insightful reviews returned two anonymous reviewers and an anonymous editor led to significant improvements in the plates and in the text.
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSFEAR-9902932
UCLA Council on ResearchUNSPECIFIED
University of Tehran Research Council651/1/328
UCLA Department of Earth and Space Sciences Cross-Training FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:continental collision; Alborz; basins
Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130820-150203818
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20130820-150203818
Official Citation:Guest, B., B. K. Horton, G. J. Axen, J. Hassanzadeh, and W. C. McIntosh (2007), Middle to late Cenozoic basin evolution in the western Alborz Mountains: Implications for the onset of collisional deformation in northern Iran, Tectonics, 26, TC6011, doi:10.1029/2006TC002091
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:40746
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:20 Aug 2013 22:43
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 05:42

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