The intraplate Euphrates fault system-Palmyrides mountain belt junction and relationship to Arabian plate boundary tectonics

D. Alsdorf, M. Barazaugi, R. Litak, D. Seber, T. Sawaf, D. AI-Saad


We interpret seismic data and well logs to indicate that the Euphrates graben, intersecting orthogonally with the Palmyride mountains, is an intraplate transtensional feature that probably developed in response to plate boundary stress created by a latest Cretaceous convergence event along the present-day northern boundary of the Arabian plate. The principal stress direction is proposed to lie generally parallel to the graben; hence, it may have formed as a tear in the Arabian crust while, as previously documented, the Palmyride region under- went shortening and uplift. Arabian plate boundary tectonism as well as shorteningin the Palmyrides were pe- riodically active during the entire Cenozoic, especially in Neogene and Quaternary time. However, the normal fault motions that formed the Euphrates graben were not active within the study area after the end of the Cre- taceous, and were most active during the Campanian-Maastl.ichtian. A broad, Cenozoic depression overlying the Euphrates graben and most of Eastern Syria is possibly related to the Mesopotamian foredeep that devel- oped in response to the nearby Zagros continental collision zone during Neogene and Quaternary time. Cenozoic strike-slip faults lie between the Euphrates graben and the Palmyrides belt and may kinematically separate the Palmyrides from the Euphrates system.


Euphrates Graben;seismic data;intraplate deformation;Central Syria;Arabian plate

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X