Analogue model of the Bala Rud Fault, Zagros: an oblique basement ramp in a fold-and-thrust belt

Abstract

The role of pre-existing structures during the building of the Zagros fold-and-thrust belt is a matter of debate. The orientation of the pre-existing basement faults varies in different parts of the Zagros belt. Major directions of the basement faulting in the Arabian plate and Zagros are N–S, NE–SW, NW–SE and E–W. Reactivation of these inherited pre-existing faults occurred at the Cretaceous. In this study, analogue modelling was constructed to test the effect of various orientations of the pre-existing basement faults on the deformation style in the northern boundary of Dezful Embayment. The model consisted of sand layers that partly overlay a viscous layer of silicon above wooden plates. Model results explain the development of deflection in the deformation front and the incompatibility location of faults in the basement and surface. The presence of the basal décollement horizon between the basement and overlying sedimentary sequences separated faulting geometry in the basement from sedimentary cover. Model results suggest that the flexure of the Zagros Mountain Front Faults (ZMFF) in the north part of Dezful Embayment is resulted by reactivation of pre-existing Bala Rud fault (BRF) which is an oblique ramp. The close similarity between the major structures produced during the analogue experiments and those observed in nature, suggests that BRF as a pre-existing basement fault has a major role in the deformation of the structures in the study area.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to warmly thank reviewers (especially Prof. Joao Duarte) and editor (Prof. Dullo) for their constructive comments that greatly improved the manuscript. The authors are especially indebted to the institute of earth sciences for providing the experimental equipment. This research was supported by the Shiraz University Research Council (SURC) grant which is gratefully acknowledged.

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Razavi Pash, R., Sarkarinejad, K., Sherkati, S. et al. Analogue model of the Bala Rud Fault, Zagros: an oblique basement ramp in a fold-and-thrust belt. Int J Earth Sci (Geol Rundsch) (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00531-021-01987-0

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Keywords

  • Central Zagros
  • Bala Rud Fault
  • Pre-existing structure
  • Analogue modelling