The Info List - Zagros Mountains

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The ZAGROS MOUNTAINS (Persian : رشته كوه زاگرس‎‎, Kurdish : زنجیره‌چیای زاگرۆس‎; Çiyayên Zagrosê, Luri : کو یه لی زاگروس, Syriac : ܛܘ̣ܪܵܢܹܐ ܕܙܵܓܪܘ̇ܣ‎, Arabic
: جبال زغروس ‎‎ Aramaic : ܛܘܪ ܙܪܓܣ,) form the largest mountain range in Iran
, Iraq
and southeastern Turkey
. This mountain range has a total length of 1,500 km (932 mi). The Zagros mountain range begins in northwestern Iran
and roughly corresponds to Iran's western border, and it spans the whole length of the western and southwestern Iranian plateau
Iranian plateau
, ending at the Strait of Hormuz
Strait of Hormuz
. The highest point in the Zagros Mountains
Zagros Mountains
is Dena
. SRTM Shaded Relief Anaglyph of Zagros Mountains
Zagros Mountains


* 1 Geology

* 1.1 Type and age of rock * 1.2 Zones

* 2 Glaciation of the East Zagros * 3 Climate * 4 Flora and fauna * 5 History * 6 See also * 7 References * 8 External links


The Zagros fold and thrust belt was formed by collision of two tectonic plates , the Eurasian Plate
Eurasian Plate
and the Arabian Plate
Arabian Plate
. This collision primarily happened during the Miocene
and folded the entire rocks that had been deposited from the Carboniferous
to the Miocene
in the geosyncline in front of the Iranian Plate. The process of collision continues to the present and as the Arabian Plate
Arabian Plate
is being pushed against the Eurasian Plate, the Zagros Mountains
Zagros Mountains
and the Iranian Plateau
Iranian Plateau
are getting higher and higher. The Zagros Mountains from space, September 1992

Recent GPS
measurements in Iran
have shown that this collision is still active and the resulting deformation is distributed non-uniformly in the country, mainly taken up in the major mountain belts like Alborz
and Zagros. A relatively dense GPS
network which covered the Iranian Zagros also proves a high rate of deformation within the Zagros. The GPS
results show that the current rate of shortening in the southeast Zagros is ~10 mm/yr, dropping to ~5mm/yr in the northwest Zagros. The north-south Kazerun strike-slip fault divides the Zagros into two distinct zones of deformation. The GPS results also show different shortening directions along the belt, normal shortening in the southeast and oblique shortening in the northwest Zagros.

The sedimentary cover in the SE Zagros is deforming above a layer of rock salt (acting as a ductile decollement with a low basal friction ) whereas in the NW Zagros the salt layer is missing or is very thin. This different basal friction is partly responsible for the different topographies on either side of the Kazerun fault. Higher topography and narrower zone of deformation in the NW Zagros is observed whereas in the SE, deformation was spread more and a wider zone of deformation with lower topography was formed. Stresses induced in the Earth's crust by the collision caused extensive folding of the preexisting layered sedimentary rocks . Subsequent erosion removed softer rocks, such as mudstone (rock formed by consolidated mud) and siltstone (a slightly coarser-grained mudstone) while leaving harder rocks, such as limestone (calcium-rich rock consisting of the remains of marine organisms) and dolomite (rocks similar to limestone containing calcium and magnesium ). This differential erosion formed the linear ridges of the Zagros Mountains.

The depositional environment and tectonic history of the rocks were conducive to the formation and trapping of petroleum , and the Zagros region is an important area for oil production.

Salt domes and salt glaciers are a common feature of the Zagros Mountains. Salt domes are an important target for petroleum exploration , as the impermeable salt frequently traps petroleum beneath other rock layers.


The Zagros Mountains
Zagros Mountains
have a totally sedimentary origin and are made primarily of limestone . In the Elevated Zagros or the Higher Zagros, the Paleozoic
rocks could be found mainly in the upper and higher sections of the peaks of the Zagros Mountains
Zagros Mountains
along the Zagros main fault. On both sides of this fault, there are Mesozoic
rocks, a combination of Triassic
and Jurassic
rocks that are surrounded by Cretaceous
rocks on both sides. The Folded Zagros (the mountains south of the Elevated Zagros and almost parallel to the main Zagros fault) is formed mainly of Tertiary rocks, with the Paleogene rocks south of the Cretaceous
rocks and then the Neogene
rocks south of the Paleogene rocks.

The mountains are divided into many parallel sub-ranges (up to 10, or 250 km wide), and orogenically have the same age as the Alps
. Iran's main oilfields lie in the western central foothills of the Zagros mountain range. The southern ranges of the Fars Province
Fars Province
have somewhat lower summits, reaching 4000 metres. They contain some limestone rocks showing abundant marine fossils .


Zagros Mountains
Zagros Mountains
follow a NW to SE pattern. A common way to divide this large area is considering two parts i.e. Northern Zagros and Southern Zagros. Northern Zagros includes Iranian provinces of West Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Hamedan, Kermanshahan, Ilam, Lorestan, Isfahan, Khuzestan, Chaharmahal va Bakhtiari. Southern Zagros covers provinces of Kohgiluye va Buyerahmad, Fars, Bushehr and Hormozgan. Another description considers three parts: northern, middle and southern Zagros.

Geologically, Zagros Mountains
Zagros Mountains
consist of two major parts alongside: Elevated Zagros and Folded Zagros. Elevated Zagros forms the north eastern mountains and Folded Zagros stands in the south and west of the Elevated Zagros. Heading east, Elevated Zagros faces Inner Highlands of the Zagros Mountains
Zagros Mountains
also known as Sanandej - Sirjan Zone. Folded Zagros instead ends in the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
in south Khuzestan Plain in the southwest and Mesopotamia
in west.


The mountains of the East-Zagros, the Kuh-i-Jupar (4135 m), Kuh-i-Lalezar (4374 m) and Kuh-i-Hezar (4469 m) do not currently have glaciers. Only at Zard Kuh and Dena
some glaciers still survive. However, before the Last Glacial Period they had been glaciated to a depth in excess of 1900 meters, and during the Last Glacial Period to a depth in excess of 2160 meters. Evidence exists of a 20 km wide glacier fed along a 17 km long valley dropping approximately 1500 meters along its length on the north side of Kuh-i-Jupar with a thickness of 350-550m. Under precipitation conditions comparable to the current conditions, this size of glacier could be expected to form where the annual average temperature was between 10.5 and 11.2 °C, but since conditions are expected to have been dryer during the period in which this glacier was formed, the temperature must have been lower.


The Zagros Mountains
Zagros Mountains
contain several ecosystems . Prominent among them are the forest and forest steppe areas with a semi-arid climate . As defined by the World Wildlife Fund
World Wildlife Fund
and used in their Wildfinder, the particular terrestrial ecoregion of the mid to high mountain area is Zagros Mountains
Zagros Mountains
forest steppe (PA0446). The annual precipitation ranges from 400 mm to 800 mm (16 to 30 inches) and falls mostly in winter and spring. Winters are severe, with low temperatures often below −25 °C (-13 °F). The region exemplifies the continental variation of the Mediterranean climate
Mediterranean climate
pattern, with a snowy, cold winter and mild rainy spring followed by a dry summer and autumn.



AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F) −0.2 (31.6) 1.4 (34.5) 6.4 (43.5) 12.2 (54) 19.3 (66.7) 24.8 (76.6) 29.7 (85.5) 29.6 (85.3) 25.6 (78.1) 17.7 (63.9) 9.7 (49.5) 2.7 (36.9) 14.91 (58.84)

AVERAGE LOW °C (°F) −8.0 (17.6) −6.8 (19.8) −2.0 (28.4) 3.5 (38.3) 8.8 (47.8) 13.0 (55.4) 17.3 (63.1) 16.9 (62.4) 13.0 (55.4) 7.2 (45) 2.1 (35.8) −4.3 (24.3) 5.06 (41.11)



Although currently degraded through overgrazing and deforestation , the Zagros region is home to a rich and complex flora. Remnants of the originally widespread oak -dominated woodland can still be found, as can the park-like pistachio /almond steppelands. The ancestors of many familiar foods, including wheat , barley , lentil , almond, walnut , pistachio, apricot , plum , pomegranate and grape can be found growing wild throughout the mountains. Persian oak (Quercus brantii) (covering more than 50% of the Zagros forest area) is the most important tree species of the Zagros in Iran.

Other floral endemics found within the mountain range include: Allium iranicum , Astracantha crenophila , Bellevalia kurdistanica , Cousinia carduchorum , Cousinia odontolepis , Echinops rectangularis , Erysimum boissieri , Iris barnumae , Ornithogalum iraqense , Scrophularia atroglandulosa , Scorzoner kurdistanica , Tragopogon rechingeri , and Tulipa kurdica .

The Zagros are home to many threatened or endangered organisms, including the Zagros Mountains mouse-like hamster (Calomyscus bailwardi), the Basra reed-warbler (Acrocephalus griseldis) and the striped hyena (Hyena hyena). The Persian fallow deer (Dama dama mesopotamica), an ancient domesticate once thought extinct, was rediscovered in the late 20th century in Khuzestan
province in the southern Zagros.


Signs of early agriculture date back as far as 9000 BC to the foothills of the Zagros Mountains, in cities later named Anshan and Susa
. Jarmo
is one archaeological site in this area. Shanidar , where the ancient skeletal remains of Neanderthals have been found, is another.

Some of the earliest evidence of wine production has been discovered in the Zagros Mountains; both the settlements of Hajji Firuz Tepe and Godin Tepe
Godin Tepe
have given evidence of wine storage dating between 3500 and 5400 BC.

During early ancient times, the Zagros was the home of peoples such as the Kassites
, Guti , Assyrians , Elamites and Mitanni
, who periodically invaded the Sumerian and/or Akkadian
cities of Mesopotamia
. The mountains create a geographic barrier between the flatlands of Mesopotamia, which is in Iraq, and the Iranian plateau. A small archive of clay tablets detailing the complex interactions of these groups in the early second millennium BC has been found at Tell Shemshara along the Little Zab
Little Zab
. Tell Bazmusian
Tell Bazmusian
, near Shemshara, was occupied between the sixth millennium BCE and the ninth century CE, although not continuously. Mt. Oshtorankuh


* Kurdistan portal

* Taurus Mountains
Taurus Mountains
* Alborz
Mountains * Mount Elbrus * Silakhor Plain


* ^ "Salt Dome in the Zagros Mountains, Iran". NASA Earth Observatory . Retrieved 2006-04-27. * ^ Nilforoushan F., Masson F., Vernant P., Vigny C., Martinod J., Abbassi M., Nankali H., Hatzfeld D., Bayer R., Tavakoli F., Ashtiani A., Doerflinger E., Daignières M., Collard P., Chéry J., 2003. GPS network monitors the Arabia-Eurasia collision deformation in Iran, Journal of Geodesy, 77, 411–422. * ^ Hessami K., Nilforoushan F., Talbot CJ., 2006, Active deformation within the Zagros Mountains
Zagros Mountains
deduced from GPS
measurements, Journal of the Geological Society, London, 163, 143–148. * ^ Nilforoushan F, Koyi HA., Swantesson J.O.H., Talbot CJ., 2008, Effect of basal friction on surface and volumetric strain in models of convergent settings measured by laser scanner, Journal of Structural Geology, 30, 366–379. * ^ Kuhle, M. (1974):Vorläufige Ausführungen morphologischer Feldarbeitsergebnisse aus den SE-Iranischen Hochgebirgen am Beispiel des Kuh-i-Jupar. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie N.F., 18, (4), pp. 472-483. * ^ Kuhle, M. (1976):Beiträge zur Quartärgeomorphologie SE-Iranischer Hochgebirge. Die quartäre Vergletscherung des Kuh-i-Jupar. Göttinger Geographische Abhandlungen, 67, Vol. I, pp. 1-209; Vol. II, pp. 1-105. * ^ Kuhle, M. (2007):The Pleistocene Glaciation (LGP and pre-LGP, pre-LGM) of SE-Iranian Mountains exemplified by the Kuh-i-Jupar, Kuh-i-Lalezar and Kuh-i-Hezar Massifs in the Zagros. Polarforschung, 77, (2-3), pp. 71-88. (Erratum/ Clarification concerning Figure 15, Vol. 78, (1-2), 2008, p. 83. * ^ Kuhle, M. (2011):The High Glacial (Last Ice Age and Last Glacial Maximum) Ice Cover of High and Central Asia, with a Critical Review of Some Recent OSL and TCN Dates. Ehlers, J., Gibbard, P. L., Hughes, P. D. (Eds.). Quaternary Glaciation - Extent and Chronology, A Closer Look. Amsterdam, Elsevier B.V, pp. 943-965, (glacier maps downloadable: http://booksite.elsevier.com/9780444534477/). * ^ Frey, W.; W. Probst (1986). Kurschner, Harald, ed. "A synopsis of the vegetation in Iran". Contributions to the vegetation of Southwest Asia. Wiesbaden, Germany: L. Reichert: 9–43. ISBN 3-88226-297-4 . * ^ "Climate statistics for Amadiya". Meteovista. Retrieved September 6, 2014. * ^ Cowan, edited by C. Wesley; Nancy L. Benco; Patty Jo Watson (2006). The origins of agriculture : an international perspective (. ed.). Tuscaloosa, Ala.: University of Alabama Press. ISBN 0-8173-5349-6 . Retrieved 5 May 2012. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link ) * ^ M. Heydari; H. Poorbabaei; T. Rostami; M. Begim Faghir; A. Salehi; R. Ostad Hashmei (2013). "Plant species in Oak
(Quercus brantii Lindl.) understory and their relationship with physical and chemical propertiesof soil in different altitude classes in the Arghvan valley protected area, Iran" (PDF). Caspian Journal of Environmental Sciences, 2013, Vol. 11 No.1, pp. 97~110. Retrieved 10 April 2014. * ^ "Haji Omran Mountain (IQ018)" (PDF). natrueiraq.org. Retrieved 22 June 2016. * ^ La Mediterranée, Braudel, Fernand, 1985, Flammarion, Paris * ^ Phillips, Rod. A Short History of Wine. New York: Harper Collins. 2000. * ^ Eidem, Jesper; Læssøe, Jørgen (2001), The Shemshara archives 1. The letters, Historisk-Filosofiske Skrifter, 23, Copenhagen: Kongelige Danske videnskabernes selskab, ISBN 87-7876-245-6 * ^ Al-Soof, Behnam Abu (1970). "Mounds in the Rania Plain and excavations at Tell Bazmusian
Tell Bazmusian
(1956)". Sumer. 26: 65–104. ISSN 0081-9271 .


* Zagros, Photos from Iran, Livius. * The genus Dionysia * Iran, Timeline of Art History * Mesopotamia