Estimation of the relative active tectonics in Shahriary basin (Central Iran) using geomorphic and seismicity indices

Document Type : Scientific and Research


1 MSc. Researcher, Soil Conservation and Watershed Management Research Institute, Tehran, Iran

2 Assistance Professor, Soil Conservation and Watershed Management Research Institute, Tehran, Iran


Iran is well known for having countless historical and instrumental records of tectonic events. Shahriary catchment, as a study area, is part of the Zagros collision seismic province. This research aimed to introduce a new method which is useful in identifying the relative active tectonic events of an area. The research method was designed in order to calculate the relative active tectonic index (IRAT) using geomorphic and seismicity indices. Accordingly, IRAT was determined based on the river length–gradient index (SL), drainage basin asymmetry (AF), transverse topographic symmetry factor (TP), hypsometric integral (HI) and the drainage basin shape index (BS). The obtained results showed that areas with relatively high, moderate and low tectonic activities comprised 71%, 19% and 10% of the study area, respectively. In addition, the calculated mean seismicity in Shahriary was 4.8±0.2 Ms, with an acceleration gravity of 0.3 g (i.e., a high-risk zone). The resultant data confirmed the ability of seismicity indices to estimate IRATs. Therefore, application of the proposed method for assessing the IRAT of an area is confidently recommended in watershed management planning.  


1. Alipoor, R., Poorkermani, M., Zare, M., El-Hamdouni, R., 2011. Active tectonic assessment around Rudbar Lorestan dam site, High Zagros Belt (SW of Iran). Geomorphology, 128, 1-14.
2. Azor, A., Keller, E.A., Yeats, R.S., 2002. Geomorphic indicators of active fold growth: South Mountain–Oak Ridge Ventura basin, southern California. America Bulletin, 114, 745-753.
3. Bull, W.B., McFadden, L.D. 1977. Tectonic geomorphology north and south of theGarlock fault. Proceedings of the 8th Annual Geomorphology Symposium, Binghamton, State University of New York.
4. Cannon, P.J., 1976. Generation of explicit parameters for a quantitativegeomorphic study of Mill Creek drainage basin. Geology Notes, 36 (1), 3–16.
5. Della Seta, M., Del-Monte, M., Fredi, P., Miccadei, E., Nesci, O., Pambianchi, G., Piacentini, T., Troiani, F., 2008. Morphotectonic evolution of the Adriatic piedmont of the Apennines: advancement in the knowledge of the Marche–Abruzzo border area. Geomorphology, 102, 119–129.
6. El-Hamdouni, R., Irigaray, C., Fernández, T., Chacón, J., Keller, E.A., 2008. Assessment of relative active tectonics, southwest border of the Sierra Nevada (southern Spain). Geomorphology, 96, 150–173.
7. Gharibreza, M., Masoumi, H., Habibi, A., 2009. Geology and Geomorphology of Shahriary Catchment. Tehran. Soil Conservation and Watershed Management Research Imstitute, 114.
8. Goorabi, A., 2007. Evidences of Active Geomorphology of Darake Basin. Geography Research, 60, 177-196.
9. Habibollahi, M., 2007. Analysis of Active Aectonic in Zayandehrod Upstream. Geography. Isfahan Isfahan University. M.Sc.
10. Hack, J.T., 1973. Stream-profiles analysis and stream-gradient index. Journal of Research of the U.S, 1(4), 421–429.
11. Hare, P.H., Gardner, T.W. 1985. Geomorphic indicators of vertical neotectonism along converging plate margins. Tectonic Geomorphology. Proceedings of the 15th Annual Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium. Boston, Allen and Unwin.
12. IIEES 1995. Seismic hazard zonation map of Iran. Seismology. Tehran, International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology.
13. Karami, F., 2009. Geomorphic assessment of the tectonic activity in the drainage basin saydabad chay. Physical Geography research, 69, 67-82.
14. Keller, E.A., Pinter, N. 2002a. Active Tectonics: Earthquakes, Uplift and Landscape. Active Tectonics: Earthquakes, Uplift and Landscape. Newjersey, Prentice Hall.
15. Khatib, M., 2008. Influence of Nehbandan Fault System on Nehbandan City Morphology. Geography & Development, 12, 5-24.
16. Khosravi, G., 2008. Active Tectonic Analysis and Impact on Drainage Network on Khuzestan Plain. Geography. NajafAbad Islamic Azad University. M.Sc.
17. Madadi, A., Rezaiee, M., Rajaiee, H., 2005. Analysis activity Neo- technique using geo-morphological. Geographical Research, 2(48), 123-138.
18. Mahmood, S., Gloaguen, R., 2012. Appraisal of active tectonics in Hindu Kush: Insights from DEM derived geomorphic indices and drainage analysis. Geoscience Frontiers, 3(4), 407-428.
19. Maroukian, H., Gaki-Papana, K., Karymbalis, E., Vouvalidis, K., Pavlopoulos, K., Papanastassiou, 2008. Morphotectonic control on drainage network evolution in thePerachora Peninsula, Greece. Geomorphology, 102, 81–92.
20. Mayer, L., 1990. Introduction to Quantitative Geomorphology. Newjersy, Prentice Hall, Englewood, Cliff.
21. Mohajer-Ashjai, A., Nowroozi, A.A., 1979. The Tabas earthquake of September 16, 1978 in eastcentral Iran: a preliminary field report. Geophysics Research Letters, 6, 689-692.
22. Mokhtari, D., 2005. Morph metric parameters used in determining the amount of activity faults (A case study: North fault Mishoo). Earth Sciences, 59, 70-83.
23. Molin, P., Pazzaglia, F.J., Dramis, F., 2004. Geomorphic expression of active tectonics in a rapidly-deforming forearc, sila massif, Calabria, southern Italy. American Journal of Science, 304, 559–589.
24. Negaresh, H., 2003. Earthquake, Cites, and Faults. Geography Researches, 1, 1-18.
25. Nowroozi, A.A., 1985. Empirical relations between magnitudes and fault parameters for earthquakes in Iran. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (BSSA), 75, 1327-1338.
26. Paul, A., Hatzfeld, D., Kaviani, A., Tatar, M., Péquegnat, C., 2010. Seismic imaging of the lithospheric structure of the Zagros mountain belt (Iran). Geomorphology, 330, 5-18.
27. Pike, R.J., Wilson, S.E., 1971. Elevation–relief ratio, hypsometric integral and geomorphic area-altitude analysis. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 82, 1079–1084.
28. Ramírez-Herrera, M., 1998. Geomorphic assessment of active tectonics in the Acambay Graben, Mexican volcanic belt. EarthSurface Processes and Landforms, 23, 317–332.
29. Silva, P.G., Goy, J.L., Zazo, C., Bardajm, T., 2003. Fault generated mountain fronts in Southeast Spain: geomorphologic assessment of tectonic and earthquake activity. Geomorphology, 250, 203–226.
30. Strahler, A.N., 1952. Hypsometric (area-altitude) analysis of erosional topography. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 63, 1117–1142.
31. Troiani, F., Della-Seta, M., 2008. The use of the stream length–gradient index in morphotectonic analysis of small catchments: A case study from Central Italy. Geomorphology, 102, 159–168.
32. Wells, D.L., Coppersmith, K.J., 1994. New Empirical Relationships among Magnitude, Rupture Length, Rupture Width, Rupture Area, and Surface Displacement. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 84(4), 974-1002.
33. Yamani. M.B.S., JafariAghdam, M. 2011. Impact Neo tectonic in the morphology Drainage basin Western Zagros. Geographical environment, 1, 68-82.
34. Zare-Mehrjerdi, A.A., 2012. Zonation of west Alborz zone based on geomorphic indices. Geography and Environmental Planning, 45, 49-51.
35. Obruchev, V.A., 1948. "Osnovnye cherty kinetiki i plastiki neotektonik". Izv. Akad. Nauk, Ser. Geol., 5: 13–24.
36. Mandl, G., 2005. Rock Joints: The Mechanical Genesis. Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany. 221 pp.