Zagros Mountains

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Zagros Mountains
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| width_km = 240}}The Zagros Mountains (; ; Lurish: کۆیَل زاگروس) are a long mountain range in Iran, Kurdistan and southeastern Turkey. This mountain range has a total length of {{convert|1,600|km|mile|abbr=on}}. The Zagros mountain range begins in northwestern Iran and roughly follows Iran's western border, while covering much of southeastern Turkey and northeastern Iraq. From this border region, the range roughly follows Iran's coast on the Persian Gulf. It spans the whole length of the western and southwestern Iranian plateau, ending at the Strait of Hormuz. The highest point is Mount Dena, at {{Convert|4409|m|ft}}.


{{see also|Geology of Iran}}File:Zagros Mountains, Iran, SRTM Shaded Relief Anaglyph.jpg|thumbnail|SRTM Shaded Relief Anaglyph of Zagros Mountains]]File:Zagros 1992.jpg|thumb|left|The Zagros Mountains from space, September 1992WEB,weblink Salt Dome in the Zagros Mountains, Iran, NASA Earth ObservatoryNASA Earth ObservatoryThe Zagros fold and thrust belt was formed by the collision of two tectonic plates, the Eurasian Plate and the Arabian Plate.BOOK, Natural Wonders of the World, Reader's Digest Association, Inc, 1980, 0-89577-087-3, Scheffel, Richard L., United States of America, 422-423, Wernet, Susan J., This collision primarily happened during the Miocene and folded the entirety of the rocks that had been deposited from the Carboniferous to the Miocene in the geosyncline in front of the Iranian Plate. The process of collision continues to the present, and as the Arabian Plate is being pushed against the Eurasian Plate, the Zagros Mountains and the Iranian Plateau are getting higher and higher. Recent GPS measurements in IranNilforoushan F., Masson F., Vernant P., Vigny C., Martinod J., Abbassi M., Nankali H., Hatzfeld D., Bayer R., Tavakoli F., Ashtiani A., Doerflinger E., Daignières M., Collard P., Chéry J., 2003. GPS network monitors the Arabia-Eurasia collision deformation in Iran, Journal of Geodesy, 77, 411–422. have shown that this collision is still active and the resulting deformation is distributed non-uniformly in the country, mainly taken up in the major mountain belts like Alborz and Zagros. A relatively dense GPS network which covered the Iranian ZagrosHessami K., Nilforoushan F., Talbot CJ., 2006, Active deformation within the Zagros Mountains deduced from GPS measurements, Journal of the Geological Society, London, 163, 143–148. also proves a high rate of deformation within the Zagros. The GPS results show that the current rate of shortening in the southeast Zagros is ~{{convert|10|mm/yr|in/yr|abbr=on}}, dropping to ~{{convert|5|mm/yr|in/yr|abbr=on}} in the northwest Zagros. The north-south Kazerun strike-slip fault divides the Zagros into two distinct zones of deformation. The GPS results also show different shortening directions along the belt, normal shortening in the southeast, and oblique shortening in the northwest Zagros. The Zagros mountains were created around the time of the second ice age,{{citation needed|date=May 2019}} which caused the tectonic collision, leading to its uniqueness.The sedimentary cover in the SE Zagros is deforming above a layer of rock salt (acting as a ductile decollement with a low basal friction), whereas in the NW Zagros the salt layer is missing or is very thin. This different basal friction is partly responsible for the different topographies on either side of the Kazerun fault. Higher topography and narrower zone of deformation in the NW Zagros is observed whereas in the SE, deformation was spread more and a wider zone of deformation with lower topography was formed.Nilforoushan F, Koyi HA., Swantesson J.O.H., Talbot CJ., 2008, Effect of basal friction on the surface and volumetric strain in models of convergent settings measured by laser scanner, Journal of Structural Geology, 30, 366–379. Stresses induced in the Earth's crust by the collision caused extensive folding of the preexisting layered sedimentary rocks. Subsequent erosion removed softer rocks, such as mudstone (rock formed by consolidated mud) and siltstone (a slightly coarser-grained mudstone) while leaving harder rocks, such as limestone (calcium-rich rock consisting of the remains of marine organisms) and dolomite (rocks similar to limestone containing calcium and magnesium). This differential erosion formed the linear ridges of the Zagros Mountains. The depositional environment and tectonic history of the rocks were conducive to the formation and trapping of petroleum, and the Zagros region is an important area for oil production. Salt domes and salt glaciers are a common feature of the Zagros Mountains. Salt domes are an important target for petroleum exploration, as the impermeable salt frequently traps petroleum beneath other rock layers. There is also much water-soluble gypsum in the regionweblink

Type and age of rock

The mountains are completely of sedimentary origin and are made primarily of limestone. In the Elevated Zagros or the Higher Zagros, the Paleozoic rocks could be found mainly in the upper and higher sections of the peaks of the Zagros Mountains, along the Zagros main fault. On both sides of this fault, there are Mesozoic rocks, a combination of Triassic and Jurassic rocks that are surrounded by Cretaceous rocks on both sides. The Folded Zagros (the mountains south of the Elevated Zagros and almost parallel to the main Zagros fault) is formed mainly of Tertiary rocks, with the Paleogene rocks south of the Cretaceous rocks and then the Neogene rocks south of the Paleogene rocks. The mountains are divided into many parallel sub-ranges (up to {{convert|10|or|250|km|mile|abbr=on}} wide), and orogenically have the same age as the Alps. Iran's main oilfields lie in the western central foothills of the Zagros mountain range. The southern ranges of the Fars Province have somewhat lower summits, reaching {{convert|4000|m|mile|abbr=off}}. They contain some limestone rocks showing abundant marine fossils.(File:The view of Dena from Semirom road - panoramio.jpg|thumb|Glaciers on Dena)


Signs of early agriculture date back as far as 9000 BC in the foothills of the mountains.La Mediterranée, Braudel, Fernand, 1985, Flammarion, Paris Some settlements later grew into cities, eventually named Anshan and Susa; Jarmo is one archaeological site in this area. Shanidar, where the ancient skeletal remains of Neanderthals have been found, is another. Some of the earliest evidence of wine production has been discovered in the mountains; both the settlements of Hajji Firuz Tepe and Godin Tepe have given evidence of wine storage dating between 3500 and 5400 BC.Phillips, Rod. A Short History of Wine. New York: Harper Collins. 2000.During early ancient times, the Zagros was the home of peoples such as the Kassites, Guti, Elamites and Mitanni, who periodically invaded the Sumerian and/or Akkadian cities of Mesopotamia. The mountains create a geographic barrier between the Mesopotamian Plain, which is in Iraq, and the Iranian Plateau. A small archive of clay tablets detailing the complex interactions of these groups in the early second millennium BC has been found at Tell Shemshara along the Little Zab.{{citation|last1=Eidem|first1=Jesper|title=The Shemshara archives 1. The letters|volume=23|year=2001|series=Historisk-Filosofiske Skrifter|location=Copenhagen|publisher=Kongelige Danske videnskabernes selskab|isbn=87-7876-245-6|last2=Læssøe|first2=Jørgen}} Tell Bazmusian, near Shemshara, was occupied between 5000 BCE and 800 CE, although not continuously.JOURNAL, Al-Soof, Behnam Abu, 1970, Mounds in the Rania Plain and excavations at Tell Bazmusian (1956), Sumer, 26, 65–104, 0081-9271,


The mountains contain several ecosystems. Prominent among them are the forest and forest steppe areas with a semi-arid climate. As defined by the World Wildlife Fund and used in their Wildfinder, the particular terrestrial ecoregion of the mid to high mountain area is Zagros Mountains forest steppe (PA0446). The annual precipitation ranges from {{convert|400|-|800|mm|in|abbr=on}} and falls mostly in winter and spring. Winters are severe, with low temperatures often below {{convert|-25|°C|°F|abbr=on}}. The region exemplifies the continental variation of the Mediterranean climate pattern, with a snowy winter and mild, rainy spring, followed by a dry summer and autumn.JOURNAL, Frey, W., W. Probst, A synopsis of the vegetation in Iran, Contributions to the vegetation of Southwest Asia, 1986, 9–43, Harald, Kurschner, L. Reichert, Wiesbaden, Germany, 3-88226-297-4, {{Weather box|width = auto |location = Amadiya District, Iraq|metric first = Yes|single line = Yes|Jan high C = -0.2 |Feb high C = 1.4|Mar high C = 6.4|Apr high C = 12.2|May high C = 19.3 |Jun high C = 24.8|Jul high C = 29.7|Aug high C = 29.6|Sep high C = 25.6|Oct high C = 17.7|Nov high C = 9.7 |Dec high C = 2.7|year high C = |Jan low C = -8.0|Feb low C = -6.8|Mar low C = -2.0|Apr low C = 3.5 |May low C = 8.8 |Jun low C = 13.0 |Jul low C = 17.3|Aug low C = 16.9 |Sep low C = 13.0|Oct low C = 7.2|Nov low C = 2.1 |Dec low C = -4.3|year low C = TITLE=CLIMATE STATISTICS FOR AMADIYA, September 6, 2014, |date= September 2014}}


The mountains of the East-Zagros, the Kuh-i-Jupar ({{convert|4135|m|ft|abbr=on}}), Kuh-i-Lalezar ({{convert|4374|m|ft|abbr=on}}) and Kuh-i-Hezar ({{convert|4469|m|ft|abbr=on}}) do not currently have glaciers. Only at Zard Kuh and Dena some glaciers still survive. However, before the Last Glacial Period they had been glaciated to a depth in excess of {{convert|1900|m|mile|abbr=off}}, and during the Last Glacial Period to a depth in excess of {{convert|2160|m|ft|abbr=off}}. Evidence exists of a {{convert|20|km|mile|abbr=on}} wide glacier fed along a {{convert|17|km|mile|abbr=on}} long valley dropping approximately {{convert|1600|m|ft|abbr=on}} along its length on the north side of Kuh-i-Jupar with a thickness of {{convert|350|-|550|m|ft|abbr=on}}. Under conditions of precipitation comparable to current climatic record-keeping, this size of glacier could be expected to form where the annual average temperature was between {{convert|10.5|and|11.2|°C|°F|abbr=on}}, but since conditions are expected to have been dryer during the period in which this glacier was formed, the temperature must have been lower.Kuhle, M. (1974):Vorläufige Ausführungen morphologischer Feldarbeitsergebnisse aus den SE-Iranischen Hochgebirgen am Beispiel des Kuh-i-Jupar. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie N.F., 18, (4), pp. 472-483.Kuhle, M. (1976):Beiträge zur Quartärgeomorphologie SE-Iranischer Hochgebirge. Die quartäre Vergletscherung des Kuh-i-Jupar. Göttinger Geographische Abhandlungen, 67, Vol. I, pp. 1-209; Vol. II, pp. 1-105.Kuhle, M. (2007):The Pleistocene Glaciation (LGP and pre-LGP, pre-LGM) of SE-Iranian Mountains exemplified by the Kuh-i-Jupar, Kuh-i-Lalezar and Kuh-i-Hezar Massifs in the Zagros. Polarforschung, 77, (2-3), pp. 71-88. (Erratum/ Clarification concerning Figure 15, Vol. 78, (1-2), 2008, p. 83.WEB, Elsevier: Ehlers,, Quaternary Glaciations - Extent and Chronology Volume 15: A closer look Welcome,weblink,

Flora and fauna

{{multiple image| align = right| direction = vertical| image1 = The environs of Borujerd (Goldasht).JPGQuercus brantii>Persian oak forests that dominate the Zagros Mountains| width1 = 220| image2 = Antoin Sevruguin 7 Men with live lion.jpgIran. This photograph was taken by Antoin Sevruguin, circa>ca. 1880,SEVRUGUIN, A. >TITLE=MEN WITH LIVE LION URL=HTTP://ARCHIVE.ASIA.SI.EDU/IRAN-IN-PHOTOGRAPHS/SEVRUGUIN-NEGATIVES.ASP ACCESS-DATE=2018-03-26, before the lion's extirpation in the country.| width2 = 220}}Although currently degraded through overgrazing and deforestation, the Zagros region is home to a rich and complex flora. Remnants of the originally widespread oak-dominated woodland can still be found, as can the park-like pistachio/almond steppelands. The ancestors of many familiar foods, including wheat, barley, lentil, almond, walnut, pistachio, apricot, plum, pomegranate and grape can be found growing wild throughout the mountains.BOOK, Cowan, edited by C. Wesley, The origins of agriculture : an international perspective, 2006, University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Ala., 0-8173-5349-6,weblink [New ed.]., Nancy L. Benco, Patty Jo Watson, 5 May 2012, Persian oak (Quercus brantii) (covering more than 50% of the Zagros forest area) is the most important tree species of the Zagros in Iran.WEB,weblink Plant species in Oak (Quercus brantii Lindl.) understory and their relationship with physical and chemical propertiesof soil in different altitude classes in the Arghvan valley protected area, Iran, M. Heydari, H. Poorbabaei, T. Rostami, M. Begim Faghir, A. Salehi, R. Ostad Hashmei, 2013, Caspian Journal of Environmental Sciences, 2013, Vol. 11 No.1, pp. 97~110, 10 April 2014, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 3 April 2015, Other floral endemics found within the mountain range include: Allium iranicum, Astragalus crenophila, Bellevalia kurdistanica, Cousinia carduchorum, Cousinia odontolepis, Echinops rectangularis, Erysimum boissieri, Iris barnumae, Ornithogalum iraqense, Scrophularia atroglandulosa, Scorzonera kurdistanica, Tragopogon rechingeri, and Tulipa kurdica.WEB, Haji Omran Mountain (IQ018)format=PDF accessdate=22 June 2016, The Zagros are home to many threatened or endangered organisms, including the Zagros Mountains mouse-like hamster (Calomyscus bailwardi), the Basra reed-warbler (Acrocephalus griseldis) and the striped hyena (Hyena hyena). Luristan newt (Neurergus kaiseri) - vulnerable endemic to the central Zagros mountains of Iran. The Persian fallow deer (Dama dama mesopotamica), an ancient domesticate once thought extinct, was rediscovered in the late 20th century in Khuzestan Province, in the southern Zagros.In the late 19th century, the Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica)JOURNAL, Kitchener, A. C., Breitenmoser-Würsten, C., Eizirik, E., Gentry, A., Werdelin, L., Wilting A., Yamaguchi, N., Abramov, A. V., Christiansen, P., Driscoll, C., Duckworth, J. W., Johnson, W., Luo, S.-J., Meijaard, E., O’Donoghue, P., Sanderson, J., Seymour, K., Bruford, M., Groves, C., Hoffmann, M., Nowell, K., Timmons, Z., Tobe, S., 2017, A revised taxonomy of the Felidae: The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group, Cat News, Special Issue 11,weblink inhabited the southwestern part of the mountains. It is now extinct in this region.BOOK, Heptner, V. G., Sludskij, A. A., 1972, 1992, Mlekopitajuščie Sovetskogo Soiuza. Moskva: Vysšaia Škola, Mammals of the Soviet Union. Volume II, Part 2. Carnivora (Hyaenas and Cats), Smithsonian Institution and the National Science Foundation, Washington DC, Lion,weblinkweblink 82–95, 90-04-08876-8,


Zagros iraq.png|A road through the mountains in Iraqi KurdistanOshtoran Kooh.jpg|Mount Oshtorankuh

See also



External links

{{Commons category}} {{Ranges of Iranian Plateau}}{{Ancient Mesopotamia}}{{Iran topics}}{{Iraq topics}}{{Paleartic temperate broadleaf and mixed forests|State=collapsed}}{{Coord|33|40|00|N|47|00|00|E|region:IR_type:mountain|display=inline,title}}{{Authority control}}

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