The Alborz range of N Iran provides key information on the spatiotemporal evolution and characteristics of the Arabia-Eurasia continental collision zone. The southwestern Alborz range constitutes a transpressional duplex, which accommodates oblique shortening between Central Iran and the South Caspian Basin. The duplex comprises NW-striking frontal ramps that are kinematically linked to inherited E-W-striking, right-stepping lateral to obliquely oriented ramps. New zircon and apatite (U-Th)/He data provide a high-resolution framework to unravel the evolution of collisional tectonics in this region. Our data record two pulses of fast cooling associated with SW-directed thrusting across the frontal ramps at ∼ 18-14 and 9.5-7.5Ma, resulting in the tectonic repetition of a fossil zircon partial retention zone and a cooling pattern with a half U-shaped geometry. Uniform cooling ages of ∼ 7-6Ma along the southernmost E-Wstriking oblique ramp and across its associated NW-striking frontal ramps suggests that the ramp was reactivated as a master throughgoing, N-dipping thrust. We interpret this major change in fault kinematics and deformation style to be related to a change in the shortening direction from NE to N/NNE. The reduction in the obliquity of thrusting may indicate the termination of strike-slip faulting (and possibly thrusting) across the Iranian Plateau, which could have been triggered by an increase in elevation. Furthermore, we suggest that ∼ 7-6-m.y.-old S-directed thrusting predated inception of the westward motion of the South Caspian Basin. © 2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Ballato, P., Stockli, D.F., Ghassemi, M.R., Landgraf, A., Strecker, M.R., Hassanzadeh, J., et al. (2013). Accommodation of transpressional strain in the Arabia-Eurasia collision zone: New constraints from (U-Th)/He thermochronology in the Alborz mountains, north Iran. TECTONICS, 32(1), 1-18 [10.1029/2012TC003159].