TECTONIC AND STRUCTURAL EVOLUTION OF THE MESOPOTAMIA PLAIN

Abstract

The geological setting of the Mesopotamia Plain, which is a part of the MesopotamiaForedeep within the tectonic framework of Iraq, has been reviewed and redefined accordingto the modern concepts of foreland basins, and new structural boundaries are introduced. TheMesopotamia Plain of the central part of Iraq is a large subsiding basin covered by thickQuaternary sediments of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers with their tributaries anddistributaries. It has been receiving pre-Quaternary sediments from the adjacent risingmountains, in the north, northeast and east, and from the Inner Platform, in the west andsouth, too.The Mesopotamia Plain is an epicontinental basin formed above an earlier platformal andmarginal basin. Accordingly, the Phanerozoic stratigraphic sequence of the basin can bebroadly categorized into three major tectono-stratigraphic assemblages; Cambrian – EarlyPermian intraplate assemblage, Late Permian – Middle Cretaceous Neo-Tethys passivemargin assemblage, and Late Cretaceous – present foreland basin assemblage.The Mesopotamia Plain is a mobile tectonic zone and contains several buried structuresincluding folds, faults and diapiric structures. Recent tectonic activity of some of thesestructures is recorded through their effects on the Quaternary stratigraphy and presentgeomorphological landforms, such as abandoned river channels, active and inactive alluvialfans and topographic expressions of some active subsurface anticlines, all together indicatingNeotectonic activity of the plain.