Paleostress Analysis of the Northeastern Limb of Pulkhana Anticline /NE Iraq: Implications for Arabian Plate Tectonic Evolution

  • Burkan S. Othman Department of Applied Geology, College of Science, Kirkuk University, Kirkuk Iraq
  • Zakariya Q. Jadda Schlumberger Oil Company, Basra, Iraq
Keywords: paleostress, pulkhana anticline, tension joints, shear joints, Arabian plate, compressive strength


Pulkhana anticline is located in Tuzhurmatu area, about 50 km SE of Kirkuk city. The study area forms a part of the Zagros Folded Zone which is situated in the unstable shelf of Iraq within the physiographic zone called Foothill Zone (in the middle of Hemrin- Makhul subzone). The north eastern limb of the anticline reaches to 50áµ’ and the dip of the  south western limb reaches to 70áµ’. The core of the structure comprises the rocks of Fat’ha Formation surrounded by rocks of Injana and Mukdadiya Formations, whereas Bai-Hasan Formation forms the slopes of the low hills surrounding the anticline. These Formations range in age from Middle Miocene to Pliocene. More than 761 readings of joint planes were collected from 20 stations within 5 traverses in the study area. The study of joint sets and system was within Injana and Mukhdadiya formations, along traverses with 3-5 stations for each travers track. The results showed the presence of two sets of tension joints (bc, ac) and five sets of shear joints, through defining the maximum stress axis (σ1) and acute angle  dividers for these conjugate joints. It was determined that two directions of Paleostress are present in the area, which are NE-SW and NW-SE. The direction of the first major stress (NE-SW) is orthogonal with, or normal to, the fold axis in the study area, which can be considered as a horizontal component which resulted from oblique collision of Arabian and Eurasian Plates. This old compressive stress is the reason behind the formation of the tension joint (ac) and shear joints, where the sets (ac) and system are perpendicular-semi perpendicular to the bedding plane, as they were formed at an early stage of folding. Also, the ) joint was formed in five tectonic stages with different time intervals. Joints formed in different tectonic stages, in the study area, are attributed to oblique collision of Arabian and Eurasian plates and counter clockwise rotation of Arabian plate relative to Eruasian plate.

How to Cite
Othman, B. S., & Jadda, Z. Q. (2020). Paleostress Analysis of the Northeastern Limb of Pulkhana Anticline /NE Iraq: Implications for Arabian Plate Tectonic Evolution. Iraqi Journal of Science, 61(11), 2936-2963.