Structural evidence on strike slip Kinematic inversion of the Kushk-e-Nosrat Fault zone, Central Iran

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Department of Geology,Faculty of Science, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Geology, Faculty of Science , Tarbiat Modares University,Tehran , Iran

3 Department of Geology, College of Science, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

4 International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology, Tehran, Iran


NW-tending faults in Central Iran are expected to represent dominant dextral components due to their orientation with respect to the northward motion of the Arabian Plate with respect to Eurasia. However, previously published works, as well as the focal mechanism solution of the area's earthquakes, indicate evidence of sinistral kinematic along the major faults in Central Iran. Here we present detail structural kinematic data on the eastern part of WNW trending Kushk-e- Nosrat (KN) Fault zone to unravel the structural architecture and regional distribution of kinematic change at the northwestern margin of Central Iran zone. We classified fault data into two dextral and sinistral kinematic categories. Based on cross-cutting relationship and the superposition of kinematic indicators the sinistral related structures are younger than the dextral one. The structural analysis of the KN Fault zone data suggests a kinematic inversion from dextral to young sinistral which is regionally attributed to the clockwise rotation of rigid South Caspian Basement Block (SCB) with respect to Eurasia.


Article Title [Persian]


Abbassi, M.R., Farbod, Y., 2009. Faulting and folding in Quaternary deposits of Tehran’s piedmont (Iran). Journal of Asian Earth Science, 34: 522–531.##
Abaie, l., Ansari, H.J., Badakhshan, A., and Jaafari, A., 1964. History and development of the Alborz and Sarajeh fields of central Iran. Bulletin of Iranian Petroleum Institute, 15: 561–574.##
Agard, P., J. Omrani, L. Jolivet, and F. Mouthereau., 2005. Convergence history across Zagros (Iran): Constraints from collisional an earlier deformation, International Journal of Earth Sciences, 94: 401–419.##
Ambraseys, N.N., 1963.The Buin–Zara (Iran) earthquake of September 1962: a field report. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 53:705–740.##
Allen, M., Ghassemi, M.R., Shahrabi, M., Qorashi, M., 2003. Accommodation of late Cenozoic oblique shortening in the Alborz range, northern Iran. Journal of Structural Geology, 25: 659–672.##
Allen, M., Jackson, J., Walker, R., 2004. Late Cenozoic reorganization of the Arabia –Eurasia collision and the comparison of short–term and longterm deformation rates, Tectonics, 23, TC2008, doi:10.1029/2003TC001530.##
Allen, M., Kheirkhah, M., Emami, M.H., Jones, S.J., 2011. Right–lateral shear across Iran and kinematic change in the Arabia–Eurasia collision zone. Geophysical Journal International, 184: 555–574.##
Axen, G. J., P. S. Lam, M. Grove, D. F. Stockli, and J. Hassanzadeh., 2001. Exhumation of the west–central Alborz Mountains, Iran, Caspian subsidence, and collision–related tectonics, Geology, 29 (6): 559–562.##
Babaahmadi, A., Safaei, H., Yassaghi, A., Vafa, H., Naeimi, A., Madanipour, S., Ahmadi, M., 2010. A study of Quaternary structures in the Qom region, West Central Iran. Journal of Geodynamics, 50: 355–367.##
Bachmanov, D.M., Trifonov, V.G., Hessami, K.T., Kozhurin, A.I., Ivanova, T.P., Rogozhin, E.A., Hademi, M.C. & Jamali, F.H., 2004. Active faults in the Zagros and central Iran. Tectonophysics, 380: 221–241.##
Structural evidence on strike slip Kinematic inversion of the Kushk-e-Nosrat Fault zone… 207
Ballato, P., Uba, C.E., Landgraf, A., Strecker, M. R., Sudo, M., Stockli, D. F., Friedrich, A., Tabatabaei, S. H., 2011. Arabia–Eurasia continental collision: Insights from late Tertiary foreland–basin evolution in the Alborz Mountains, northern Iran. Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, 123: 106–131.##
Beigi, S., Nadimi, A., Safaei, H., 2016. Tectonic history of seismogenic fault structures in Central Iran. Journal of Geosciences, 61: 127–144.##
Berberian, M., 1976d. The 1962 earthquake and earlier deformation along the Ipak earthquake fault (Iran), Geological Survey of Iran, 39: 419–428.##
Berberian, M., King, G.C.P., 1981. Toward a paleogeography and tectonic evolution of Iran. Canadian Journal of Earth Science, 18: 210–265.##
Berberian, M., Yeats, R.S., 2001. Contributions of archeological data to studies of earthquake history in the Iranian Plateau, Journal of Structural Geology, 23: 563–584.##
Blick, N. C., Biddle, K., 1985. Deformation and basin formation along strike–slip faults. Basin Formation and sedimentation. Society for Sedimentary geology (SEPM) Special Publications, 1 (37): 1–34.##
Cuningham, W.D. 2005. Active intracontinental transpressional mountain building in the Mongolian Altai: defining a new class of orogen. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 240: 436–444.##
Cunningham, W., Mann, P., 2007. Tectonics of strike–slip restraining and releasing bends. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 290 (1): 1.##
Davoudzadeh, M.; Schmidt, K., 1984. A Review of the Mesozoic Paleogeography and Paleotectonic Evolution of Iran. Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie –Abhandlungen, 168: 182–207.##
Dewey, J.F., Holdsworth, R.E., Strachan, R.A., 1998. Transpression and transtension zones: continental transpressional and transtensional tectonics. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 135: 1–14.##
Djamour, Y., Vernant, P., Bayer, R., Nakini, H.M., Ritz, J.F., Hinderer, J., Hatam, Y., Luck, B., Le Moigne, N., Sedighi, M., Khorrami, F., 2010. GPS and gravity constraints on continental deformation in the Alborz mountain range, Iran. Geophysical Journal International, 183: 1287–1301.##
Doblas, M., 1998. Slickenside kinematic indicators. Tectonophysics, 295: 187–197.##
Ehteshami Moinabadi, M., Yassaghi, A., 2007. Geometry and kinematics of the Mosha Fault, south central Alborz Range, Iran: An example of basement involved thrusting. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 29 (5): 928–938.##
Elyaszadeh, R., Mohajjel, M., Farahani, B., Jafari, S.R., 2012. The fault mechanism of Alborz fault (North Qom city); Evidence for fault slip inversion transfer from Central and western Alborz Mountain to the parallel faults in northwest of Central Iran zone. Iranian Journal of Geoscience, 83: 13–22 (in Persian).##
Emami, M.H., 1991. Description of the geological map of Qom Quadrangle, Scale: 1: 250,000. Geological Survey of Iran.##
Furrer, M.A., Soder, P.A., 1955. The Oligo–miocene marine Formation in the Qom region (Central Iran), 4th world petroleum congress, Rom.##
Gansser, A., 1955. New Aspects of the Geology of Central Iran: Proceedings, Fourth World Petroleum Congress, Carlo Colombo, Rome, p. 286–305.##
Ghalamghash, J., Fonoudi, M., ehrpartou, M., 1998. Geological map of Saveh quadrangle, Scale: 1:100,000. Geological Survey of Iran.##
Guest, B., Axen, G.J., Lam, P.S., Hassanzadeh, J., 2006a. Late Cenozoic shortening in the west–central Alborz Mountains, northern Iran, by combined conjugate strike–slip and thin–skinned deformation. Geosphere, 2: 35–52.##
Guest, B., Guest, A., Axen, G., 2007a. Late Tertiary tectonic evolution of northern Iran: A case for simple crustal folding. Global and Planetary Change, 58: 435–453.##
Hempton, M. R., 1985. Structure and deformation history of the Bitlis suture near Lake Hazar, southeastern Turkey, Geological Society of America Bulletin, 96: 233–243.##
Hessami, K., Koyi, H.A., Talbot, C.J., Tabasi, H., Shabanian E., 2001. Progressive unconformities within an evolving foreland fold–thrust belt, Zagros Mountains, Journal of the Geological Society. 158: 969–981, doi: 10.1144/0016– 764901–007.##
Holdsworth, R.E., Butler, C.A., Roberts, A.M., 1997. The recognition of reactivation during continental deformation. Journal of the Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 154: 73–78.##
Hollingsworth, J., Jackson, J., Walker, R., Nazari, H., 2008. Extrusion tectonics and subduction in the eastern South Caspian, Journal of Geology, 36: 763–766.##
Horton, B.K., Hassanzadeh, J., Stockli, D.F., Axen, G.J., Gillis, R.J., Guest, B., Amini, A., Fakhari, M.D., Zamanzadeh, S.M., Grove, M., 2008. Detritial zircon provenance of Neoproterozoic to Cenozoic deposits in Iran: Implications for chronostratigraphy and collision tectonics, Tectonophysics, 451: 97–122##
Jackson. J., Haines. J., Holt. W., 1995. The accommodation of Arabia–Eurasia plate convergence in Iran. Journal of Geophysical research, Volume100, IssueB8: 15205–15219.##
Jackson, J., Priestley, K., Allen, M., Berberian, M., 2002. Active tectonics of the South Caspian basin. Geophysical 208 Khodaparast et al. Geopersia, 10 (1), 2020 Journal International, 148: 214–245.##
Jamali, F., Hessami, K., Ghorashi, M., 2011. Active tectonics and strain partitioning along dextral fault system in Central Iran: Analysis of geomorphological observations and geophysical data in the Kashan region. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 40: 1015–1025.##
Javadi, H.R., Ghassemi, M.R., Shahpasandzadeh, M., Guest, B., Esterabi Ashtiani, M., Yassaghi, A., Kouhpeyma, M., 2013. History of faulting on the Doruneh Fault System: Implications for the kinematic changes of the Central Iranian Microplate. Geological M agazine, 150 (4): 651–672.##
Javadi, H.R., Esterabi Ashtiani, M., Guest, B., Yassaghi, A., Ghassemi, M.R., Shahpasandzadeh, M., Naeimi, A., 2015. Tectonic reversal of the western Doruneh Fault System: Implications for Central Asian tectonics. Tectonics, 34: 2034– 2051, doi: 10.1002/2015TC003931.##
Jolivet, L., and C. Faccenna., 2000. Mediterranean extension and the Africa–Eurasia collision, Tectonics, 19(6): 1095– 1106.##
Jones, R.R., and G.P. W. Tanner., 1995. Strain partitioning in transpression zones, Journal of Structural Geology, 17: 793–802.##
Kim, Y.S., Andrews, J.R. and Sanderson, D.J., 2001. Reactivated strike–slip faults: examples from north Cornwall, UK. Tectonophysics, 340: 173–194.##
Lacassin, R., A. Replumaz, and P.H. Leloup., 1998. Hairpin river loops and slip–sense inversion on Southeast Asian strike–slip faults. Geology, 26: 703–706.##
Madanipour, S., Ehlers, T.A., Yassaghi, A., Rezaeian, M., Enkelmann, E., Bahroudi, A., 2013. Synchronous deformation on the orogenic plateau margins, insights from the Arabia–Eurasia collision, Tectonophysics, 608: 440–451.##
Madanipour, S., Yassaghi, A., Ehlers, T.A., Enkelmann, E., 2018. Tectonostratigraphy, structural geometry and kinematics of the NW Iranian Plateau margin: insights from the Talesh Mountains, Iran, American Journal of Science, 318 (2): 208–245.##
Maruyama, T., Lin, A., 2004. Slip sense inversion on active strike–slip faults in southwest Japan and its implications for Cenozoic tectonic evolution. Tectonophysics, 383: 45–70.##
McQuarrie, N., Stock, J.M., Verdel, C. and Wernicke, B.P., 2003. Cenozoicevolution of Neotethys and implications for the causes of plate motions. Geophysical Research Letters, 30 (20): 2036.##
McQuarrie, N., and van Hinsbergen, D. J. J., 2013. Retrodeforming the Arabia–Eurasia collision zone: Age of collision versus magnitude of continental subduction. Geology, 41: 315–318.##
Miller, D. D., 1998. Distributed shear, rotation, and partitioned strain along the San Andreas fault, central California. Geology, 26: 867–870.##
Molnar, P., Tapponnier, P., 1975. Cenozoic Tectonics of Asia: Effects of a Continental Collision: Features of recent continental tectonics in Asia can be interpreted as results of the India–Eurasia collision. Science, New Series, Volume 189, 4201: 419–26.##
Morley, C.K., Kongwung, B., Julapour, A., Abdolghafourian, M., Hajian, M., Waples, D., Warren, J., Otterdoom, H., Srisuriyon, K., Kazemi, H., 2009. Structural development of a major late Cenozoic basin and transpressional belt in central Iran: The Central Basin in The Qom– saveh area. Geosphere, Volume 5, 4: 325–362.##
Muttoni, G., Mattei, M., Balini, M., Zanchi, A., Gaetani, M., Berra, F., 2009. The drift history of Iran from the Ordovician to the Triassic. The Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 312: 7–29.##
Nogolsadat, M., Hooshmand Zadeh, A., Behroozi, A., Lotfi, M., 1985. Geological map of Saveh quadrangle, Scale: 1: 250000. Geological Survey of Iran. ID: WPC–6018.##
Orang, K., Mohajjel, M., Tajbakhsh, G.R., 2014. The evidences of slip–sense Inversion in Koushk–e–Nosrat Fault, North Saveh. Iranian Journal of Geoscience, 94: 315–328. (In Persian).
Petit, J.P., 1987. Criteria for the sense of movement on fault surfaces in brittle rocks. Journal of Structural Geology, 9: 597–608.##
Reuter, M., Piller, W.E., Harzhauser, M., Mandic, O., Berning, B., Rögl, F., Kroh, A., Aubry, M.P., Wielandt–Schuster, U., Hamedani, A., 2007. The Oligo–/Miocene Qom Formation (Iran): evidence for an early Burdigalian restriction of the Tethyan Seaway and closure of its Iranian gateways. International Journal of Earth Sciences 98: 627–650, doi:10.1007/s00531–007–0269–9.##
Ritz, J.F., Nazari, H., Salamati, R., Shafeii, A., Solaymani, S., Vernant, P., 2006. Active transtension inside Central Alborz: a new insight into the Northern Iran–Southern Caspian geodynamics. Geology, 34: 477–480.##
Safaei, H., Taheri, A., Vaziri– Moghaddam, H., 2008. Structural Analysis and Evolution of the Kashan (Qom–Zefreh) Fault, Central Iran. Journal of Applied science. 8 (8):1426–1434.##
Safaei, H., 2009a. The continuation of the Kazerun fault system across the SanandajSirjan zone (Iran). Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 35: 391–400.##
Safaei, H., 2009b. Study of seismicity and risk of earthquakes of Kashan city, project number 103/9/4226, Isfahan University Research Council, 230pp (in Persian).##
Structural evidence on strike slip Kinematic inversion of the Kushk-e-Nosrat Fault zone… 209
Salvini, F., 2004. Daisy 4.1. The Structural Data Integrated System Analyzer. Available at
Software University of Roma Tre, Roma. Sengör, A.M.C., and W. S. F. Kidd., 1979. Post–collisional tectonics of the Turkish–Iranian plateau and a comparison with Tibet, Tectonophysics, 55: 361–376.##
Soffel, H. C., Schmidt,S., Davoudzadeh, M., 1996. New palaeomagnetic data from Central Iran and a Triassic palaeoreconstruction. Internatinal journal of Earth Science, 85: 293–302.##
Solaymani Azad, S., Ritz, J. F., Abbassi, M.R., 2011. Left–lateral active deformation along the Mosha–North Tehran fault system (Iran): Morphotectonics and paleoseismological investigations. Tectonophysics, 497: 1–14.##
Spotila, J. A., Niemi, N., Brady, R., House, M., Buscher, J., Oskin, M., 2007. Long–term continental deformation associated with transpressive plate motion: The San Andreas fault. Geology. 35 (11): 967–970.##
Stampfli, G.M., Borel, G. 2003. A revised plate tectonic model for the western Tethys fromPaleozoic to Cretaceous. AAPG international Conference, Barcelona, Spain, 21–24thSep: 1–6.##
Stocklin, J., 1968. Structural history and tectonics of Iran: A review: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, 52: 1229–1258.##
Storti, f., Holdsworth, R. E., Salvini, F., 2003. Intraplate Strike–Slip Deformation Belts. Geological Society of London Special Publications 210 (1): 1–14, Doi: 10.1144/GSL.SP.2003.210.01.01.##
Storti , f., Rossetti, F., Laufer, A. L., Salvini, F., 2005. Consistent kinematic architecture in the damage zones of intraplate strike–slip fault systems in North Victoria Land, Antarctica and implications for fault zone evolution. Journal of Structural Geology, 28: 50–63.##
Sylvester, A.G., 1988. Strike–slip faults. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 100: 1666–1703.##
Tikoff, B., and Teyssier, C., 1994. Strain modeling of displacement–field partitioning in transpressional orogens, Journal of Structural Geology, 16: 1575–1588.##
Takin, M.1972. Iranian geologyand continental drift in the Middle East. Nature, 235 (5334): 147–150.##
Trifonov, V.G., Hessami, K.T., Jamali, F., 1996. West–trending oblique sinistral–reverse fault system in northern Iran. IIEES special publication, V.75.Tehran.Iran.##
Vernant, P., Nilforoushan, F., Che´ry, J., Bayer, R., Djamour, Y., Masson, F., Nankali, H., Ritz, J.F., Sedighi, M., Tavakoli, F., 2004b. Deciphering oblique shortening of central Alborz in Iran using geodetic data. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 223: 177–185.##
Walker, R. T., Bergman, E., Jackson, J., Ghorashi, M., Talebain, M., 2005. The 2002 June 22 Changureh (Avaj) earthquake in Qazvin province, northwest Iran: epicentral relocation, source parameters, surface deformation and geomorphology. Geophysical Journal International. 160 (2): 707–720.##
Walpersdorf, A., Manighetti, I., Mousavi, Z., Tavakoli, F., Vergnolle, M., Jadidi, A., Hatzfeld, D., Aghamohammadi, A., Bigot, A., Djamour, Y., Nankali, H., Sedighi, M., 2014. Present‚Äźday kinematics and fault slip rates in eastern Iran, derived from 11 years of GPS data. Journal of geophysical research. Doi: 10.1002/2013JB010620.##
White, S.H., Bretan, P.C.,Rutter, E.H., 1986. Fault–Zone Reactivation: Kinematics and Mechanisms. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, A, 317: 81–97, doi: 10.1098/rsta.1986.0026.##
Yassaghi, A., .Madanipour, S., 2008. Influence of a transverse basement fault on along strike variations in the geometry of an inverted normal fault: case study of the Mosha Fault, Central Alborz Range, Iran. Journal of Structural Geology, 30: 1507–1519.##
Zanchi, A., Zanchetta, S., Berra, F., Mattei, M., Garzanti, E., Molyneux, S., Nawab, A., Sabouri, J., 2009. The Eo– Cimmerian (Late? Triassic) orogeny in North Iran, in South Caspian to Central Iran Basins, Geological Society of London, special publication, 312: 31–55.##