According to previous paleomagnetic analyses, the northward latitudinal drift of Iran related to the closure of the Paleo-Tethys Ocean resulted in the Late Triassic collision of Iran with the Eurasian plate and Cimmerian orogeny. The post-Cimmerian paleogeographic and tectonic evolution of Iran is instead less well known. Here we present new paleomagnetic data from the Upper Jurassic Bidou Formation of Central Iran, which we used in conjunction with published paleomagnetic data to reconstruct the history of paleomagnetic rotations and latitudinal drift of Iran during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic. Paleomagnetic inclination values indicate that, during the Late Jurassic, the Central-East-Iranian Microcontinent (CEIM), consisting of the Yazd, Tabas, and Lut continental blocks, was located at low latitudes close to the Eurasian margin, in agreement with the position expected from apparent polar wander paths (APWP) incorporating the so-called Jurassic massive polar shift, a major event of plate motion occurring in the Late Jurassic from 160 Ma to 145–140 Ma. At these times, the CEIM was oriented WSW–ENE, with the Lut Block bordered to the south by the Neo-Tethys Ocean and to the southeast by the Neo-Sistan oceanic seaway. Subsequently, the CEIM underwent significant counter-clockwise (CCW) rotation during the Early Cretaceous. This rotation may have resulted from the northward propagation of the Sistan rifting- spreading axis during Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous, or to the subsequent (late Early Cretaceous?) eastward subduction and closure of the Sistan oceanic seaway underneath the continental margin of the Afghan Block. No rotations of, or within, the CEIM occurred during the Late Cretaceous–Oligocene, whereas a second phase of CCW rotation occurred after the Middle-Late Miocene. Both the Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous and post Miocene CCW rotations are confined to the CEIM and do not seem to extend to other tectonic regions of Iran. Finally, an oroclinal bending mechanism is proposed for the origin of the curved Alborz Mountains, which acquired most of its curvature in the last 8 Myr.
Mattei, M., Cifelli, F., Muttoni, F., Rashid, H. (2015). Post-Cimmerian (Jurassic–Cenozoic) paleogeography and vertical axis tectonic rotations of Central Iran and the Alborz Mountains. JOURNAL OF ASIAN EARTH SCIENCES, 102, 92-101 [10.1016/j.jseaes.2014.09.038].