Deformed Ridge in Northeastern Iraq

February 21, 2011

Photographer: David Kiefer
Summary Author: David Kiefer

The photo above features a rather unique display of layered rock in northeastern Iraq that was tilted and deformed and then eroded, thereby nicely showing its structure. Although it's common to see layers along cliff faces, this ridgeline is tilted at a relatively shallow but uniform angle throughout most of its entire length. It extends approximately 8 mi (13 km) to the east then gradually turns south (shaped like an eyebrow) and terminates near the shores of Darbandikhan Lake close to the Iraq/Iran Border southwest of Halabja, Iraq. The vertical “wavy” pattern seen distinctly at left continues to  the middle right in the photo.

According to Professor Kamal Haji Karim of the Geology Department of the University of Sulaymaniyah ("Sulimani" in Kurdish), the rock face is dolomitic limestone of the Pila Spi Formation (Middle Eocene). This formation extends under Darbandikhan Lake and trends from Iran toward Turkey. The top of the ridge here is approximately 320 ft (98 m) above the village in the foreground -- sunlight is glinting off the roof tops.  Photo taken on May 3, 2005.

Photo details: Camera Maker: Canon; Camera Model: Canon PowerShot A310; Focal Length: 5.0mm; Aperture: f/5.6; Exposure Time: 0.0013 s (1/800); Exposure Bias: none; Metering Mode: Matrix; White Balance: Auto; Flash Fired: No (Auto); Orientation: Normal; Color Space: sRGB.