Since we are travelling to Iran we never thought about the tectonics of Iran. Of course we can remember the catastrophe of Bam in 2003, but it was never so really in my active thinking. Now with the big earthquake we got a smooth reminder. We took this to write a small excursion about Iranian special situation.
Iran is on top of a high active seismic region.
The latest earthquake on November 12th 2017 was located within the Zagros Mountains. Here the Arabian and Eurasian Plates move towards each other and we can observe a permanent continental collision. At this location, the relative convergence of the plates is about 26 mm per year. And that means a lot in tectonic measures. That is really a lot! Think about what two and a half cm are...
Very interesting, the Iranian plate is a relatively small lithospheric plate. It is part of a continental plate in Asia. But as we know such small plates as microplates, they can have strong movements. Especially in the case of the Iranian plate. It lies as a part in the south of the Eurasian plate. The Indian plate lies in the east, the Arab plate in the south and the Anatolian plate in the west. The Iranian plate is mostly covered from the Iranian Highlands, but also most of Afghanistan, western Pakistan and part of eastern Turkey. Interesting wise, the southwest of Iran is part of the Arabian plate. And guess what? Thea seam of Iranian and Arabian plate goes directly through the middle of the Zagros mountains and ends later in the south in the Gulf of Oman. The seam to the Indian plate follows the Baluchi east cover of the Indus plains, and merges in Kashmir in the seam of the Himalayas.
The map of tectonic wonders
With respect to Wikipedia, we link to this map, which is also depicted in the following. Here one can see very easily the overlapping plates under Iran.
Reading this description no one wonders any more why we have this mass of earthquakes in Iran. We personally never had the experience of a earthquake, but hearing this, it will come. Hopefully we will not hit too hart.
Yours K-Street6 Team