Morphological analysis of glaciated valleys in the Zardkuh Mountains, Iran

Document Type : Scientific and Research


1 PhD. Isfahan Regional Water Company, Ministry of Energy, Isfahan, Iran

2 Assistance Professor, Geographic Sciences and Planning Faculty, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran


The morphology of glacial valley can be described in terms of power law or quadratic equations fitted to valley cross-profiles. These two models are used to study the cross-profiles of 86 valley cross-profiles in the Zardkuh Mountain in order to understand the evolutional patterns of valleys. Assessment of using the power law function indicates that b values for both valley sides range from 1.0 to 2.5 with values showing an increase within this range as valley floor altitude increases. Analysis of b and FR of the valleys in the Zardkuh Mountains does not fit in with the Rocky Mountain model of Hirano and Aniya, but has a similar trend to the Patagonia-Antarctica model. The analyses also show a more efficient widening process in higher altitudes and a more efficient over deepening of valleys in lower altitudes. The results of the analysis show a relatively efficient glacial process in the elevated region of the Zardkuh. Application of quadratic function show similar conclusions and also indicates that most of the valleys are roughly symmetrical in the cross-profile. Apparently, greatest degree of "U-ness" showing glacial modifications was observed in altitudes above ELA during Last Glacial Maximum.


  1. Augustinus, P.C. (1992). The influence of rock mass strength on glacial valley cross-profile morphometry: a case study from the Southern Alps, New Zealand. Earth Surface Processes Landforms 17: 39-51.
  2. Brook, M.S.; Brock, B.W. (2005). Valley morphology and glaciation in the Tararua Range, Southern North Island, New Zealand, New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 48(4): 717-724
  3. Desio, A. (1934). Sull'esistenza di piccoli ghiacciai nella Persia occidentale [Concerning the existence of small glaciers in western Persia]: Bollettino del Comitato Glaciologico Italianao, 14: 39-52.
  4. Doornkamp, J.C.; King, C.A.M. (1971). Numerical Analysis in Geomorphology. Arnold, London, 372 pp.
  5. Ebrahimi, B. (2015). Investigation and Analysis of Late Quaternary Glacial Landforms in Zagros Mountain, Iran. Ph D. thesis, University of Isfahan, Iran.
  6. Ebrahimi, B.; Seif, A. (2016). Equilibrium-Line Altitudes of Late Quaternary Glaciers in the Zardkuh Mountain, Iran. Geopersia, 6 (2): 299-322.
  7. Falcon, N.L. (1974). Southern Iran; Zagros Mountains in Mesozoic-Cenozoic Orogenic belts; data for Orogenic studies, Alpine Himalayan orogeny. Geol. Soc. London Special Publ. 4: 199–211.
  8. Ferrigno, J.G. (1988). Glaciers of the Middle East and Africa– Glaciers of Iran., Williams R. S. and Ferrigno: Satellite atlas of glaciers of the world. 1386-G-2: 31-47.
  9. Graf, W.L. (1970). The geomorphology of the glacial valley cross-section. Arct. Alp. Res. 2: 303-312.

10. Grunert, J.; Carls, H.G.; Preu, C. (1978). Rezente Ver-gletscherungsspuren in zentraliranischen Hochgebirgen [The present-day glaciers of the central Iranian high mountains]: Eiszeitalter und Gegenwart, 28: 148-166.

11. Harbor, J.M.; Wheeler, D.A. (1992). On the mathematical description of glaciated valley cross-sections. Earth Surf. Processes Landforms 17: 477-485.

12. Harbor, J. (1995). Development of glacial-valley cross profiles under conditions of spatially variable resistance to erosion. Geomorphology, 14:99-107.

13. Hirano, M.; Aniya, M. (1988). A rational explanation of cross-profile morphology for glacial valleys and of glacial valley development. Earth Surf. Processes Landforms, 13: 707-716.

14. Hirano, M.; Aniya, M. (1990). A reply to 'A discussion of Hirano and Anyia's (1988, 989) explanation of glacial valley cross profile development' by Jonathan M. Harbor. Earth Surf. Processes Landforms, 15: 379-381.

15. James, L.A. (1996). Polynomial and power functions for glacial valley cross-section morphology. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 21: 413-432.

16. Jiao, K.Q. (1981). Cross-section of glacial valley at the head of Urumqi River, Tian Shan. J. Glaciol. Geocryol. 3(s): 92-96. [in Chinese]

17. Kassab, C.; Harbor, J. (2013). Alternative coordinate systems for analyzing cross-section shapes of glaciated valleys: a case study from the Dalijia mountains, China. Physical Geography, 34: 108-123. 10.1080/02723646.2013.787580.

18. Li, Y.; Liu, G.; Cui, Z. (2001). Glacial valley cross-profile morphology, Tian Shan Mountains, China. Geomorphology, 38: 153-166.

19. Liu, G.N. (1989). Research on glacial erosion landforms: case study of Luojishan Mt., Western Sichuan. J. Glaciol. Geocryol, 11 (3): 249-259. [in Chinese]

20. McQuillan, H. (1969). Small glacier on Zardeh Kuh, Zagros Mountains, Iran: Geographical Journal, 135(4): 639.

21. Moussavi, M.S.; Valadan Zoej, M.J.; Vaziri, F.; Sahebi, M.R.; Rezaei, Y. (2009). A new glacier inventory of Iran, Annals of Glaciology, 50 (53).

22. National Cartographic Center of Iran (NCC) (2010). Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of Shahrekord Block, 10m spatial resolution base on topographic map with scale 1: 25,000.  NCC, Tehran, Iran.

23. Nilforoushan, 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.

24. Oberlander, T. (1965). The Zagros Streams: a New Interpretation of Transverse Drainage in an Orogenic Zone. Syracuse Univ. Press, Syracuse, NY.

25. Pedrami, M. (1982). Pleistocene Glaciation's and Paleoclimate in Iran, Geol. Surv. Iran, Tehran.

26. Preu, C. (1984). Die quartäre Vergletscherung der inneren Zardeh-Kuh-Gruppe (Zardeh-Kuh-Massiv), Zagros/Iran. Augsburger Geogr. H. 4. Augsburg.

27. Seif, A.; Ebrahimi, B. (2014). Combined Use of GIS and Experimental Functions for the Morphometric Study of Glacial Cirques in Zardkuh Mountain, IRAN. Quaternary International, DOI: 10.1016/ j.quaint.2014.07.005.

28. Svensson, H. (1959). Glaciation och morfologi. En glacialgeogra fisk studie i ett tvarsnitt genom kanderna mellansodra Helgelandskusten och Kultsjodalen. (English summary). Medd. L.G.U.I., Avh., 36, 283 pp.

29. Wheeler, D.A. (1984). Using parabolas to describe the cross-sections of glaciated valleys. Earth Surf. Processes Landforms 9: 391-394.

30. Wright, H.E. (1962). Pleistocene glaciation in Kurdistan. In: Eiszeitalter u. Gegenwart 12: 131-164.

31. Yamani, M. (2007). Geomorphology of Zardkouh Glaciers, Geography Researches (Iranian Journal), 59: 125-139.