Neighbouring faults can interact, potentially link up and grow, and consequently increase the seismic and related natural hazards in their vicinity. Despite evidence of Quaternary faulting, the kinematic relationships between the neighbouring Mosha Fasham Fault (MFF) and the North Tehran Thrust (NTT) and their temporal evolution in the Alborz mountains are not well understood. The ENE-striking NTT is a frontal thrust that delimits the Alborz mountains to the south with a 2000 m topographic front with respect to the proximal Tehran plain. However, no large instrumentally recorded earthquakes have been attributed to that fault. In contrast, the sigmoidally shaped MFF is a major strike-slip fault, located within the Alborz Mountains. Sinistral motion along the eastern part of the MFF is corroborated by microseismicity and fault kinematic analysis, which documents recent transtensional deformation associated with NNE-SSW oriented shortening. To better understand the activity of these faults on different timescales, we combined fault-kinematic analysis and geomorphic observations, to infer the kinematic history of these structures. Our fault kinematic study reveals an early dextral shear for the NTT and the central MFF, responsible for dextral strike-slip and oblique reverse faulting during NW-oriented shortening. This deformation regime was superseded by NE-oriented shortening, associated with sinistral-oblique thrusting along the NTT and the central-western MFF, sinistral strike-slip motion along subsidiary faults in the central MFF segment, and folding and tilting of Eocene to Miocene units in the MFF footwall. Continued thrusting along the NTT took place during the Quaternary. However, folding in the hanging wall and sinistral stream-offsets indicate a left-oblique component and Quaternary strike-slip reactivation of the eastern NTT-segment, close to its termination. This complex history of faulting under different stress directions has resulted in a composite landscape with inherited topographic signatures. Our study shows that the topography of the hanging wall of the NTT reflects a segmentation into sectors with semi-independent uplift histories. Areas of high topographic residuals and apparent high uplift underscore the fault kinematics. Combined, our data suggest an early mechanical linkage of the NTT and MFF fault systems during a former dextral transpressional stage, caused by NW-compression. During NE-oriented shortening, the NTT and MFF were reactivated and incorporated into a nascent transpressional duplex. The youngest manifestation of motion in this system is sinistral transtension. However, this deformation is not observed everywhere and has not yet resulted in topographic inversion. © 2009 The Authors Journal compilation © 2009 RAS.
Landgraf, A., Ballato, P., Strecker, M.R., Friedrich, A., Tabatabaei, S.H., Shahpasandzadeh, M. (2009). Fault-kinematic and geomorphic observations along the North Tehran Thrust and Mosha Fasham Fault, Alborz mountains Iran: Implications for fault-system evolution and interaction in a changing tectonic regime. GEOPHYSICAL JOURNAL INTERNATIONAL, 177(2), 676-690 [10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04089.x].