Journal of Earth Sciences and Geotechnical Engineering

Tectonics and Neotectonics of the Mesopotamian Plain: A Critical Review

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  • Abstract

     

    The Mesopotamian Plain is a part of the Mesopotamia Foredeep of the Zagros Foreland Basin and is a part of the Zagros Fold Thrust Belt. The plain covers the central part of Iraq and extends south eastwards. It is a large continuously subsiding basin since the Upper Miocene (11.62 Ma). The plain is covered by thick Quaternary sediments of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers with their tributaries and distributaries. Therefore, the plain shows no structural features on the surface, except a main fault escarpment that extends from south of Al-Najaf city to south of Nasiriya city representing part of Abu Jir Active Fault Zone. However, the rolling topography, in the northern parts of the plain indicates subsurface anticlines that are still growing up, such as Balad, Samarra, Tikrit and Baiji anticlines. Moreover, many buried subsurface anticlines are present in different parts of the plain. All are growing anticlines and have caused continuous shift to the Tigris and Euphrates River and their distributaries indicating Neotectonic activities. The minimum and maximum subsidence amounts in the plain are zero and 2500 m, respectively.

     

    Keywords: Mesopotamia Foredeep, Subsurface anticlines, River migrations, Neotectonic activities, Folds growth, Iraq.