Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Hassan Babaie - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Pamela Burnley

Third Advisor

Dr. Timothy La Tour

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Zhi Young Yin


Enhancement methods applied on various satellite images (ASTER, ETM and RADAR SAT-1) facilitated the identification and mapping of tectonic fractures in the Zagros fold-and-thrust belt in southwest Iran. The results of the fracture analysis on these enhanced images reveal four principal fracture sets within each fold structure: (i) an axial set defined by normal faults oriented parallel to the fold axial trace, (ii) a cross-axial, extensional fracture set oriented perpendicular to the fold axial trace, (iii) and two sets of intersecting shear fractures, oriented at an acute angle to the cross-axial set. Study of the enhanced images also revealed five fracture sets along the Kazerun fault zone: (i) Riedel R- and R'-shear fracture sets, (ii) extensional T fracture set oriented at a high angle to the trace of the main Kazerun fault, (iii) oblique, synthetic P-shear fracture set, at a low angle to the trace of the main Kazerun fault, and (iv) synthetic Y-shear displacement fracture set, oriented sub-parallel to the main trace of the fault. The estimated mean azimuths of the shortening that developed the fold- and fault-related fracture systems are remarkably close, and are oriented perpendicular to the general NW-SE trend of the Zagros fold-and-thrust belt. The sampling and analysis of the fold- and fault-related fracture systems were done in a GIS environment. This study shows that an analysis of enhanced satellite images can reveal significant information on the deformation style, timing, and kinematics of the Zagros fold-and-thrust belt. This study suggests that the Zagros orogenic belt, which has mainly been forming since Miocene, due to the convergence of the Iranian and Arabian subplates, has evolved both by thin- and thick-skinned tectonics. Reconfiguration of the Precambrian basement blocks, and the ensuing slip and rotation along the Precambrian faults during the Zagros orogeny, have deformed the folds, and redistributed the fold-related fractures through rigid-body rotation.