The Northern Zagros Suture Zone (NZSZ), formed as a result of the collision between Arabian and Sanandaj-Sirjan microplate, is considered as part of the Zagros orogenic belt. NZSZ is marked by two allochthonous thrust sheets in upward stacking order: lower and upper allochthon. The Bulfat complex is a part of the upper allochthon or “Ophiolite-bearing terrane” of Albian-Cenomenion age (97–105 Ma). Voluminous highly sheared serpentinites associated with ophiolites occur within this upper allochthon. In addition, the Gemo-Qandil Group is characterized by gabbroic to dioritic Bulfat intrusion with a crystallization age spanning from ~45 to ~ 40 Ma, as well as extensive metapelites with contact to the Walash-Naupurdam metavolcanic rocks. Due to the deformation in the Sanandaj-Sirjan Zone along the eastern side of the Iraqi segment of NZSZ, the Gemo-Qandil Group was regionally metamorphosed during late Cretaceous (~ 80 Ma). This tectono-compressional dynamics ultimately caused an oscillatory deformation against Arabian continental margin deposits as well. During these events, gabbro-diorite intrusion with high-grade contact metamorphic aureoles occurred near Bulfat. Thus, there is an overlap between regional and contact metamorphic conditions in the area. The earlier metamorphic characteristic can be seen only in places where the latter contact influence was insignificant. Generally, this can only observed at a distance of more than 2.5 km from the contact. According to petrographic details and field observations, the thermally metamorphosed metapelitic units of the metasediment have been completely assimilated, with only some streaks of biotite and relicts of initial foliation. They strongly resemble amphibolite-grade slices from the regional metamorphic rocks in the region. Metapelitic samples far from the intrusion give similar biotite cooling ages as the intrusive rocks. Thus, they may be affected by the same thermal event. 40Ar/39Ar dating of biotite in metapelite rocks of Bulfat by step-wise heating with laser gave average weighted isotopic ages of 34.78 ± 0.06 Ma. This is interpreted as crystallization/recrystallization age of biotite possibly representing the time of cooling and uplift history of the Bulfat intrusion. Cooling and exhumation rates for the Bulfat gabbro-diorite rocks were estimated as ~ 400 °C/Ma and ~ 3.3 mm/year respectively. According to petrographic details, field observations and Ar/Ar dating concerning the contact metamorphism near Bulfat due to the gabbro-diorite intrusion, no significant deformation is visible during exhumation processes after the Paleogene tectono-thermal event, indicating that isotopic ages of 34.78 ± 0.06 Ma could mark the timing of termination of the island arc activity in the Ophiolite-bearing terrane (upper allochthon).
Arabian Journal of Geosciences – Springer Journals
Published: May 19, 2018