The seismogenic fault system of the 2017 Mw 7.3 Iran–Iraq earthquake: constraints from surface and subsurface data, cross-section balancing, and restoration
Abstract. The 2017 Mw 7.3 Iran–Iraq earthquake occurred in a region where the pattern of major plate convergence is well constrained, but limited information is available on the seismogenic structures. Geological observations, interpretation of seismic reflection profiles, and well data are used in this paper to build a regional, balanced cross section that provides a comprehensive picture of the geometry and dimensional parameters of active faults in the hypocentral area. Our results indicate (i) the coexistence of thin- and thick-skinned thrusting, (ii) the reactivation of inherited structures, and (iii) the occurrence of weak units promoting heterogeneous deformation within the palaeo-Cenozoic sedimentary cover and partial decoupling from the underlying basement. According to our study, the main shock of the November 2017 seismic sequence is located within the basement, along the low-angle Mountain Front Fault. Aftershocks unzipped the up-dip portion of the same fault. This merges with a detachment level located at the base of the Paleozoic succession, to form a crustal-scale fault-bend anticline. Size and geometry of the Mountain Front Fault are consistent with a down-dip rupture width of 30 km, which is required for an Mw 7.3 earthquake.