An improved evaluation of the seismic/geodetic deformation-rate ratio for the zagros fold-and-thrust collisional belt

Mimmo Palano*, Paola Imprescia, Amotz Agnon, Stefano Gresta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We present an improved picture of the ongoing crustal deformation field for the Zagros Foldand- Thrust Belt continental collision zone by using an extensive combination of both novel and published GPS observations. The main results define the significant amount of oblique Arabia-Eurasia convergence currently being absorbed within the Zagros: right-lateral shear along theNWtrending Main Recent fault inNWZagros and accommodated between fold-andthrust structures and NS right-lateral strike-slip faults on Southern Zagros. In addition, taking into account the 1909-2016 instrumental seismic catalogue, we provide a statistical evaluation of the seismic/geodetic deformation-rate ratio for the area. On Northern Zagros and on the Turkish-Iranian Plateau, a moderate to large fraction (~49 and >60 per cent, respectively) of the crustal deformation occurs seismically. On the Sanandaj-Sirjan zone, the seismic/geodetic deformation-rate ratio suggests that a small to moderate fraction (<40 per cent) of crustal deformation occurs seismically; locally, the occurrence of large historic earthquakes (M ≥ 6) coupled with the high geodetic deformation, could indicate overdue M ≥ 6 earthquakes. On Southern Zagros, aseismic strain dominates crustal deformation (the ratio ranges in the 15-33 per cent interval). Such aseismic deformation is probably related to the presence of the weak evaporitic Hormuz Formation which allows the occurrence of large aseismic motion on both subhorizontal faults and surfaces of décollement. These results, framed into the seismotectonic framework of the investigated region, confirm that the fold-and-thrust-dominated deformation is driven by buoyancy forces; by contrast, the shear-dominated deformation is primary driven by plate stresses. The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberggx524
Pages (from-to)194-209
Number of pages16
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Asia
  • Creep and deformation
  • Earthquake hazards
  • Satellite geodesy
  • Seismicity and tectonics


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