Structural analysis of the Azmir – Goizha anticline, north and northeast of Sulaimani city, Kurdistan Region, Northeast Iraq

Kamal Haji Karim and Sirwan Hama Ahmad

School of Science, University of Sulaimani  

The Azmir–Goizha anticline (AGA) is located directly to north and northeast boundary of
Sulaimani city, Kurdistan Region, NE Iraq. The anticline originally consists of two main connected
anticlines (Azmir and Goizha anticlines) with many smaller anticlines along southwest and
northeast limbs. In the studied area, it has length and width of about (10 and 4) kms, respectively,
with height of 1600 m (a.s.l). It extends from Weladar village, from southeast to Khamza village at
the northwest and further extends outside of the studied area. The anticline has very complicate
structural setting and recently few structural analyses were conducted by different workers. The
present study is an attempt to discover the actual structural setting of the anticline and try to review
the previous studies critically by using data collected in the field with aid of precise stratigraphic
analysis. Structurally, the previous pigy-back thrust imbricated fan is changed to nearly isoclinal
detachment fold, which is detached in the form of either lift-off detachment fold or multi-
detachment fold or multi-detachment faulted fold. In the core of the anticline, the accommodation
of the shortening is preserved as second-order folding or second-order conjugate faulting. The
competent cover (outer layers) of the anticline consists of Kometan and upper part Balambo
formations. Core Azmir and Qaywan anticlines are occupied plastic incompetent layers of Sarmord
Formation and lower part of Balambo formations while that of Azmir Bichkola and Naugirdan (or
Goizha) anticlines are occupied. These units are deformed as disharmonic buckle folds in the cores.
The main detachment had occurred in the lower part of the Sarmord Formation (Lower
Cretaceous) and inside Jurassic rocks. All the mapped strike-slip and reverse faults, in the previous
studies are not recorded in the present study. Furthermore, this study recommends excluding the
anticline from the Imbricate Zone and including it within the High Folded Zone.

Keywords: Azmir anticline, Goizha anricline, Structural analysis, Sarmord Formation, Balambo
Formation, Kometan Formation, Gulneri Formation, Dokan Formation.

[1] Karim, K.H., Salih, A.O and Ahmad, S.H., 2013. Stratigraphic Analysis of Azmir – Goizha anticline
by Nannofossils. Journal of Zankoy Sulaimain (JZS), Part A, Vol.15, No.2.
[2] Al-Jumaily, I.S.I. and Adeeb H.G.M., 2011. Some structural characteristics of Azmar Anticline, NE
Iraq, Mineral Res. Expl. Bull., 143, p. 37 – 52.
[3] Omar, A.A., 2011. Analysis and Interpretation of Minor Folds Developed in the Cretaceous
Formations within Azmir Anticlinorium, in a Part of Iraqi Zagros Fold and Thrust Belt, Suliamania
District, Northeastern Iraq. Journal of Basic and Applied Scientific Research. Vol.1 (10) p.1490 –
[4] Al-Hakari, S.H.S., 2011. Geometric Analysis and Structural Evolution of NW Sulaimani Area,
Kurdistan Region, Iraq. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of Sulaimani, 309pp.
[5] Lawa, F.A., 2004. Sequence stratigraphic analysis of the middle Paleocene –Middle Eocene in the
Sulaimani District (Kurdistan Region). Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of Sulaimani.
[6] Karim, K.H., 2004a. Basin analysis of Tanjero Formation in Sulaimaniya area, NE-Iraq. Unpublished
Ph.D. Thesis, University of Sulaimani, 135pp.
[7] Al-Barzinjy, S.T.M., 2005. Stratigraphy and basin analysis of Red Bed Series from northeastern Iraq,
Kurdistan Region. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of Sulaimani, 159pp.
[8] Karim, K.H., Al-Barzinjy, S.T. and Ameen, B.M., 2008. History and Geological Setting of
Intermontane Basin in the Zagros Fold – Thrust Belt, Kurdistan Region, NE-Iraq. Iraqi Bull. Geol.
Min., Vo.4, No.1, p. 21 – 33.
[9] Ibrahim, A.O., 2009. Tectonic style and evolution of the NW segment of the Zagros Fold – Thrust
Belt, Sulaimani Governorate, Kurdistan Region, NE Iraq. Unpublished Ph. D. Thesis, University of
Sulaimani, College of Science, 187pp.
[10] Aziz, B.K., Lawa, F.A. and Said, B.M., 2000. Sulaimani Seismic Swarm during spring 1999, NE
Iraq. Journal of Zankoy Sulaimany, Vol.4, No.1.,p.87 – 100.
[11] Bellen, R.C.van, Dunnington, H.V., Wetzel, R. and Morton, D., 1959. Lexique Stratigraphic
International. Asie,Fasc.,10a, Iraq, Paris, 333pp.
[12] Jassim and Goff (2006) Geology of Iraq. Dolin, Prague and Moravian Museum, Burno, 270pp
[13] Epard, J.-L. and Groshong, R. H., Jr., 1995,Kinematic model of detachment folding including limb
rotation, fixed hinges and layer-parallel strain: Tectonophysics, v. 247, p. 85-103.
[14] Goodarzi, M.H.H., 2007. Structure of the Chenareh Anticline in Lurestan, Zagros: Role of gravity in
folding style, Master en Geología Experimental, Universitat de Barcelona, Group of Dynamics of the
Lithosphere (GDL), Institut de Ciències de la Terra “Jaume Almera”, CSIC, Barcelona.
[15] Davis, D.M. and Engelder, T., 1985. The role of salt in fold-and-thrust belts: Tectonophysics,
Vol.119, p. 67 – 89.
[16] Oveisi, B., Lave, J., van der Beek, P., Carcaillet, J., Benedetti, L. and Aubourg, C., 2009. Thick- and
thin-skinned deformation rates in the central Zagros Simple Folded Zone (Iran) indicated by
displacement of geomorphic surfaces. Geophys. J. Int. Vo.176, p. 627 – 654.
[17] Shaw, J. H., Connors, C. and Suppe, J. (Eds.), 2005. Seismic interpretation in contractional fault-
related fold, An AAPG Seismic Atlas, Study in Geology, No.53, .59p p
[18] Fossen, H., 2010. Structural Geology, Cambridge University Press, 463pp.
[19] Mitra, S., 2003. A unified kinematic model for the evolution of detachment folds. Journal of
Structural Geology, 25, p. 1659–1673.
[20] Verges, J., Goodarzi, M.G.H, Emami, H., Karpuz, R., Efstathiou, J. and Gillespie,P., 2011. Multiple
detachment folding in Pusht-e Kuh Arc, Zagros: Role of mechanical stratigraphy, In: K., McClay, J.,
Shaw and L., Suppe, (Eds.). Thrust Fault-related folding: AAPG Memoir, 94, P. 69 – 94.
[21] Yamato, P, Kaus, B.J.P., Mouthereau, F. and Castelltort, S., 2011 Dynamic constraints on the crustal-
scale rheology of the Zagros Fold Belt, Iran. Geology, Vol.39, No. 9, p.815 – 818.
[22] Sherkati, S., Molinaro, M., de Lamotte, D.F. and Letouzey, J., 2005. Detachment folding in the
Central and Eastern Zagros Fold – Belt (Iran): Salt mobility, multiple detachments and late basement
control. Journal of Structural Geology, Vol. 27, Issue 9, p. 1680 – 1696,
[23] Karim, K. H. and Sulaiman, S.H., 2012. Origin of lateral thrust in Mawat Area, Kurdistan, NE Iraq.
Petroleum and Mineral Resources, 68, WIT Transactions on Engineering Sciences, Vol 81, WIT
[24] Al-Mehaidi, H.M., 1975. Tertiary nappe in Mawat Range, N.E Iraq, Jour. Geol. Soc. Iraq, 8, 31-
[25] Hessami, K., Koyi, H.A., Talbot, C.J., Tabasi, H. and Shabanian, E., 2001. Progressive
unconformities within an evolving foreland Fold – Thrust Belt, Zagros Mountains. Journal of the
Geological Society of London, 158, p.969 – 981.
[26] Ali, S.A., 2008. Geology and hydrogeology of Sharazoor – Piramagroon Basin in Sulaimani area,
Northeastern Iraq. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of Bilgrad, Sirbia, 330pp.

[27] Buday, T., 1980. The Regional Geology of Iraq, Part I, Stratigraphy and Paleogeography. In: I.I., Al-
Kassab and M.L., Abbas (Eds.). Dar A[-Kuttib Publication House. GEOSURV, Iraq, 445p p.
[29] Al-Qayim, B., Omer, A. and Koyi, H., 2012. Tectonostratigraphic overview of the Zagros Suture
Zone, Kurdistan Region, Northeast Iraq, GeoArabia, Vol. 17, No. 4, p.109 – 156.
[29] Lawa, F.A., Koyi, H. and Ibrahim, A., 2013. Tectono-stratigraphic evolution of the NW segment of
the Zagros Fold – Thrust Belt, Kurdistan, NE Iraq. Journal of Petroleum Geology, Vol. 36.
[30]Karim K. H.2004b. Origin of structures and textures of some Kurdistan marbles as inferred from
sedimentary ancestor structures, NE-Iraq, (JSZ) Journal of Zankoy Sulaimani, Vol. 7(1) Part A. p.
[31]Mobasher, K., 2007. Kinematic and tectonic significance of the fold and fault related fracture systems
in the Zagros Mountains, Southern Iran. Unpubl. Ph.D. Thesis, Georgia State University, USA, 123 p
[32]Aziz Zadeh, M., 1997. Structural setting of the Qatar – Kazerun Fault in the Zagros Fold and Thrust –
Belt: A structural model. M.Sc. Thesis, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran, 282pp (in Persian).
[33]Bahroudi, A. and Talbot, C.J., 2003. The configuration of the basement beneath the Zagros Basin,
Journal of Petroleum Geology, 26, p.257 – 282.
[34]Mobasher, K. and Babaie, H., 2007. Kinematic and tectonic significance of the fold and fault related
fracture systems in the Zagros Mountains, southern Iran. Tectonophysics, Vol. 451, p. 156 – 169