We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Landscape maturity, fold growth sequence and structural style in the Kirkuk Embayment of the Zagros, northern Iraq.

Obaid, Ahmed K. and Allen, Mark B. (2017) 'Landscape maturity, fold growth sequence and structural style in the Kirkuk Embayment of the Zagros, northern Iraq.', Tectonophysics., 717 . pp. 27-40.


The Kirkuk Embayment is located in the southwest of the Zagros fold-and-thrust belt of Iraq. Like fold-and-thrust belts worldwide, the Zagros is conventionally understood to have grown sequentially towards the foreland. Here we use landscape maturity analysis to understand anticline growth in the embayment. Digital Elevation Model (DEM)-based geomorphic indices Hypsometric Integral (HI), Surface Roughness (SR) and their combination Surface Index (SI) have been applied to quantify landscape maturity. The results inform new ideas for the sequence of anticline growth. Maturity indices are highest for the QaraChauq Anticline in the center of the Embayment, then Makhool/Himreen to the south and lastly, the Kirkuk Anticline to the north. The pattern suggests the growth sequence is not classical ‘piggy back’ thrusting. This result fits the exhumation record, which is loosely constrained by the stratigraphic exposure level. Favored hypotheses for fold growth order are either i) the folds have grown at different times and out of sequence (QaraChauq first, then Makhool/Himreen, and Kirkuk last), or, ii) the growth occurred with different rates of exhumation but at broadly the same time. There are few constraints from available data on syn-tectonic sedimentation patterns. Fold growth across much of the Embayment might have begun within a limited timeframe in the late Miocene–Pliocene, during the deposition of the Mukdadiyah Formation. Another hypothesis is that folds grew in sequence towards the foreland with different rates of exhumation, but we consider this less likely. We also construct a new cross-section for the Embayment, which indicates limited Cenozoic strain: ~ 5% shortening. Analysis of topography and drainage patterns shows two previously-undescribed anticlines with hydrocarbon trap potential, between the Makhool and QaraChauq anticlines.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
File format - PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:© 2017. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:10 July 2017
Date deposited:20 July 2017
Date of first online publication:12 July 2017
Date first made open access:12 July 2018

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar