Ruh, J. B., Valero, L., Aghajari, L., Beamud, E., & Gharabeigli, G. (2019). Vertical-axis rotation in East Kopet Dagh, NE Iran, inferred from paleomagnetic data: oroclinal bending or complex local folding kinematics? Swiss Journal of Geosciences.


The Kopet Dagh Mountains in NE Iran result from Cenozoic tectonic inversion of Triassic and Jurassic rifts that formed along the southern margin of the Eurasian continental plate. The Kopet Dagh defines an arcuate orogen leading to the suggestion that oroclinal bending took place during its formation. We performed a paleomagnetic study including seven sampling sites of Paleocene formations around the Kalat syncline in the East Kopet Dagh to test whether this part of the mountain belt experienced vertical-axis rotation. Paleomagnetic measurements and a reversals test indicate that parts of the collected samples may have been partially remagnetized. Overall paleomagnetic directions of all sample sites show a mean declination of 12.5°, which is the expected direction for stable Europe in the Paleocene and therefore negates any rotation related to regional tectonic events. Directions calculated only from reversely polarized paleomagnetic data, however, suggest clockwise vertical-axis rotations up to 21° since the Paleocene. Numerical modelling of a viscous multi-layer folding mimicking the Kalat syncline stratigraphy suggests that local deviations in overprinted site-mean directions and orientation of the maximum axes of the AMS ellipsoid may be related to complex folding kinematics, acquired after regional vertical-axis rotation, where related viscous flow of relatively weak interlayer is represented by the sampled Paleocene formation.

Reference article

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