Taghikhani, H., Yassaghi, A., Madanipour, S., & Najafi, M. (2024). Salt tectonics along the High Zagros Fault in Iran, faulting through welded salt walls. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 259, 105928. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jseaes.2023.105928
In salt-bearing foreland fold-thrust belts, precursor salt structures affect deformation and accommodate fault zones during orogenic shortening. The complex structure and the halokinetic history of these belts, including the spatiotemporal relationship between diapirism and thrust faulting, have yet to be fully understood. The well-exposed Ediacaran–Early Cambrian Hormuz salt diapirs and the Cambrian–Pliocene overburden stratigraphic sequences along the High Zagros Fault (HZF) in Iran are interesting examples in this regard. The detailed field investigation of the diapirs, the halokinetic deformations, and the thickness variations of the sedimentary units toward the flanks of eight salt structures along the fault show that the first movement of the Hormuz salt could be as old as the Middle Cambrian, occurring long before the initiation of regional folding in the early Miocene. This marks the first field-based and the oldest proposed time for the onset of Hormuz salt diapirism in the Zagros fold-thrust belt. Our field and remote-sensing mapping show the presence of precursor linear salt structures like salt walls. The Hormuz salt diapirs likely began to rise as elongated salt walls above extensional basement faults coeval with the Neo-Tethyan rifting in Early Mesozoic. The squeezing of the salt walls during Zagros shortening from Miocene resulted in the partial accommodation of the HZF as thrust welds. This spatiotemporal evolution, showing the interplay between salt diapirism and late thrusting, can be considered as an analog for other fold-and-thrust belts with pre-orogenic diapiric systems.