Much of Iraq consists of a low-lying plain which
is the trough of a large northeast-southwest
oriented synclinal feature with a steeper
northeastern flank. This steeper northeastern
flank is comprised of gentle folds that increase
in magnitude into the Upper Fold and Nappe Zone
which includes the Zagros Mountains in
northeastern Iraq and Iran.
The southwest flank
of the fold is comprised of desert plateaus that
reach into Saudi Arabia. This overall tectonic
structure is due to compressive forces from the
northeast that are opposed, in the southwest, by
the fairly stable Arabian Plateau. There are, of
course,other local features some of which are
probably important for oil and salt formations but
the basic scene is a tectonic trough and ongoing
activity as the Arabian tectonic plate is forced
under the Iranian plate.
There is also
some information on the geography of Iraq at the
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