Tertiary and quaternary marine terraces and planation surfaces of northern Oman: Interaction of flexural bulge migration associated with the Arabian-Eurasian collision and eustatic sea level changes

Ye Yuan, Timothy M. Kusky, Sankaran Rajendran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


The northeastern Arabian passive margin is being subducted beneath the Zagros and Makran of Iran. A flexural bulge related to the weight of the Makran has migrated at 4 cm/a through the previously uplifted Hajar Mountains of Oman as this active convergence and collision between Arabia and Eurasia progresses, adding approximately another 500 meters of relief, and forming a series of uplifted marine terraces, alluvial terraces, and planation surfaces that record the passage of the bulge. We use a combination of field studies, remote sensing and GIS to map and better-understand these terraces, and elucidate how the tectonics of bulge migration, down-to-trench normal faulting, and eustatic sea level changes have interacted to produce the extant geomorphic features on the inner slope of the flexural bulge as it sinks into the foredeep of the Gulf of Oman. We speculate those terraces that were uplifted on the outer slope of the forebulge as it initially migrated through the passive margin (affected by ophiolite obduction in the Cretaceous) 3.75–7.5 Ma ago are now sinking on the inner slope of the forebulge (corresponding to the outer trench slope in the foredeep), and have been partly covered by Quaternary marine terraces related to a Weichselian sea level high stand. Both the Tertiary and Quaternary terraces are cut by faults related to the active collision, confirming that there is a significant risk of moderate earthquakes in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)955-970
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Earth Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2016



  • Arabia-Eurasia collision
  • flexural bulge
  • image processing
  • marine terraces
  • Quaternary sea level fluctuation
  • remote sensing
  • Sultanate of Oman

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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