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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 28 Nov 2018

Research article | 28 Nov 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Solid Earth (SE).

Relative Timing of Uplift along the Zagros Mountain Front Flexure Constrained by Geomorphic Indices and Landscape Modelling, Kurdistan Region of Iraq

Mjahid Zebari1,2, Christoph Grützner1, Payman Navabpour1, and Kamil Ustaszewski1 Mjahid Zebari et al.
  • 1Institute of Geological Sciences, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Jena, 07749, Germany
  • 2Geology Department, Salahaddin University-Erbil, Erbil, 44002, Kurdistan Region of Iraq

Abstract. The Mountain Front Flexure marks a dominant topographic step in the frontal part of the Zagros Fold-Thrust Belt. It is characterized by numerous active anticlines atop of an underlying basement fault. So far, little is known about the relative activity of the anticlines, about their evolution, and about how crustal deformation migrates over time. We assessed the relative landscape maturity of three along-strike anticlines (from SE to NW: Harir, Perat, and Akre) located on the hanging wall of the Mountain Front Flexure in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to identify the most active structures and to get insights into the evolution of the fault and thrust belt. Landscape maturity was evaluated using geomorphic indices such as hypsometric curves, hypsometric integral, surface roughness, and surface index. Subsequently, numerical landscape evolution models were run to estimate the relative time difference between the onset of growth of the three anticlines, using the present-day topography of the Harir Anticline as a base model. A stream power equation was used to introduce fluvial erosion, and a hillslope diffusion equation was applied to account for colluvial sediment transport. For different time steps of model evolution, we calculated the geomorphic indices generated from the base model. While Akre Anticline shows deeply incised valleys and advanced erosion, Harir and Perat anticlines have relatively smoother surfaces and are supposedly younger than the Akre Anticline. The landscape maturity level decreases from NW to SE. A comparison of the geomorphic indices of the model output to those of the present-day Akre Anticline topography revealed that it would take the Harir Anticline 70 ± 10 kyr and 200 ± 20 kyr to reach the maturity level of the Perat and Akre anticlines, respectively, assuming constant erosion and rock uplift rates along the three anticlines. Since the factors controlling geomorphology (lithology, structural setting and climate) are similar for all three anticlines, and under the assumption of constant growth and erosion rates, we infer that uplift of the Akre Anticline started 200 ± 20 kyr before that of the Harir Anticline, with the Perat Anticline showing an intermediate age. A NW-ward propagation of the Harir Anticline itself implies that the uplift has been independent within different segments rather than being continuous from NW to SE. Our method of estimating the relative age difference can be applied to many other anticlines in the Mountain Front Flexure region to construct a model of temporal evolution of this belt.

Mjahid Zebari et al.
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Mjahid Zebari et al.
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Short summary
Here, we assessed the maturity level and then relative variation of uplift time of three anticlines along the hanging wall of the Zagros Mountain Front Flexure in Kurdistan region of Iraq. We also estimated the time difference between the uplift time of more mature anticlines and less mature ones to be around 200 kyr via building a landscape evolution model. These enabled us to reconstruct a spatial and temporal evolution of these anticlines.
Here, we assessed the maturity level and then relative variation of uplift time of three...