Foraminiferal-based paleobiogeographic reconstructions in the Carboniferous of Iran and its implications for the Neo-Tethys opening time: a synthesis
Keywords:Iran, Carboniferous, Foraminifers, Paleogeography, Neo-Tethys Opening
The biogeographic distribution of foraminifers and their belonging to either the southern or northern margins of the Paleo-Tethys are used here for paleogeographic reconstructions of Iran during the Carboniferous. Lower Carboniferous foraminiferal assemblages from northern and central Iran show a cosmopolitan character and affinities to both the southern and northern borders of the Paleo-Tethys. Hence, in the Early Carboniferous Iran occupied an intermediate southern latitude position, forming part of Gondwana. This conclusion is consistent with the Late Ordovician to Early Carboniferous drift history of Iran based on paleomagnetic data. In the Late Carboniferous, the foraminiferal affinities of northern and central Iran with the northern part of Paleo-Tethys suggest that Iran separated from Gondwana and moved northwards to a lower latitude. This separation is also evidenced by the Upper Carboniferous coal-bearing sandstones of the Sardar Formation and sandstones with high degree of chemical weathering, which would indicate warm and humid conditions. Considering the composition of foraminiferal fauna along with the evidence of magmatic activities in northwest Iran, it can be inferred that
the commencement of the Neo-Tethys opening and continental break-up in Iran occurred sometime in the Late Carboniferous, which contradicts the previous claims that the separation of Iran from Gondwana occurred in Permian and/or Triassic times.
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