Aras Geopark


Proposed Aras Geopark is located in eastern Azerbaijan Province of Iran. The Geopark has an area of about 1670 square kilometers and spread across the whole Jolfa county.

From a natural geographical view, this mountainous area is the southern end of little Caucasus that encompasses countries include Armenia, Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and northern Azerbaijan of Iran. This mountain alongside with Alborz and Zagros are forming middle part of Alpine-Himalayan Orogeny that stretches from southern Europe to eastern Asia and acting as a natural barrier, caused a great diversity in climate, life and cultures in each two sides slopes.

 The main source of precipitations is the Mediterranean wet air fronts which enter the area on early autumn to mid-spring from northwest and west, and forms an average precipitation about 250-350 mm per year.

The topography is generally extremely steep, and forms astonishing landscapes, so that the highest point in Jolfa region is the Kiyamaki mount with 3347 m and the lowest points include the northern boundary and the Aras river valley with 720 to 390 meters. Given to its climate, the area has a diverse vegetation, so that Aras valley is covered by subtropical trees, since the western and middle parts are dominated by steppe, and Arasbaran dense forests are seen on eastern slopes. The permanent snow line is located above the altitude of 3000 meters.

The main river in the area is the Aras river that make the northern boundary of the geopark with Armenia and Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. The continues roaring steam of the river passing from northwestern to northeastern drains surface waters in the area. The river in downstream meets the Kura River and at last flows into the Caspian Sea.

The area has an appropriate geo-tourism attraction, because of its mountainous landscapes, and outcropping different sedimentary and igneous rocks, diversity in tectonic structures, semi-cold and semi-arid climate and diverse flora and fauna.

Main geosites in the Geopark include Kamtal, Marakan, Darediz and Kiyamaki localities, that given to their diverse flora and fauna, are protected by Iranian Department of Environment. Among the most notable geological features of the Geopark can mention to Paleozoic-Mesozoic sedimentary rocks sequence, especially the conformity of Permian to Triassic sediments, that is very interesting for geologists, plutonic provinces and extensive granitic rocks which is covered eastern part of area, volcanic and sub-volcanic provinces that form Kiyamaki dome, compression regime resulting from Alpine Orogeny which causes developing different structural features such as faulting, trusting and folding of rocks, fossil site localities, mineral springs which deposit travertine, and at last the Aras River and its related geomorphic features. Each of these phenomena can shows different orogenic phases, its forming processes and life history on our planet.

Aras Geosites

Geosite is a part of a Geopark where a number of geological features are located near to each other, and its important geological phenomena can be visited completely in a short time. Geological heritage in each geosite include astonishing landscapes and amazing geological phenomena with scientific, educational and aesthetic significance that enchanted visitors and imply them to the mysterious Earth’s history.

Aras Geopark is located where the string of micro-continents or Cimmeria collided with paleo-continent Laurasia, and its outcrops cover a wide range of different rocks from Paleozoic to Cenozoic sediments, plutonic, volcanic and well as metamorphic rocks. The maximum height difference is more than 2900 meters, so one can expect so many geological features and topographic views in each of its geosites. Among the important geosites in the area are Aras River, Kamtal National Park, Marakan Protected Area, Dare-diz Protected Area, Asiyab-kharabe (broken mill) water fall, Kiyamaki volcanic dome, and Maharan waterfalls.

Aras River

Aras River is located in the northern part of the Geopark that flows from west to east of the area. The river is the political border between Iran in the south and Armenia and Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in the north.

The most distant sources of Aras river are Bingöl mountains in the south of Erzurum province in Turkey, 240 km far from Iranian border, passing through countries include Armenia, Iran and Azerbaijan, with a length of 1072 km, flow into Kura River and at last into Caspian Sea. Morphologically, Aras channel is mostly braided and longitudinal braid bars as long single islands can be seen along its channel. These braid or mid-channel bars are resulted from deposition of river gravel load when the discharge is low.

Kamtal National Park

Geologically, Kamtal National Park is located on a huge granitic intrusion, formed in Eocene Epoch (56 to 34 Ma), in the Cretaceous sedimentary rocks (145 to 66 Ma). Thermal contact metamorphism is restricted to the zone surrounding the intrusion. So that, a wide range of various rocks include intrusive igneous rocks, and volcanic and sub-volcanic (as sills and dikes), contact metamorphic and sedimentary rocks, especially travertine (around the hot springs) are observable in a limited distance, less than 10 km length. Such a diverse lithology is very unique all over the area. Among the most significant geological features can be name from mineralization as veins contain copper and iron, fossil localities, numerous caves and plenty of dikes that occur as long dark continues walls in limestone cliffs.

Kamtal National Park contain some of most beautiful intact landscapes in the Geopark, as a last stand castle for wild life, that fortunately save its bio-diversity. Its green meadows replete with flowers mesmerizes any visitor.

Marakan Protected Area

Marakan protected area is located at the west of Geopark. In this region we can see the oldest lithological units in the Geopark, namely Jairood Formation aging Devonian Period (420 to 360 Ma) which constituted most extended outcrops as well. Permian and Triassic sedimentary rocks including limestone, dolomite and sandstone outcrop in the area too. These rocks are rich in term of fossil content, and fossils of some of the extinct ancient animals like brachiopods, pelecypoda (bivalve) and ammonites can be found in these sedimentary rocks.

Faults and thrusts in the area caused a significant strike-slip and reverse movements, and there is rhyolite-dacite extrusions, sills and dikes with dark colors outcrops.

Marakan region with sharp cliffs and steeped crags resulted from missive limestone and dolomitic beds and fault scarps, is blessing gift for wild life as well as who love natural astonishing perspectives.

Dare-diz Protected Area

Another important geosite in the Geopark is the Dare-diz Protected area. Visitors who enter the Geopark via Tabriz road from the south way, whether by car or train, first of all, encounter with huge cliffs and elevated hilltops of this geosite.

Competent limestone and dolostone beds from Devonian, Permian and Triassic Periods, as well as Devonian Andesitic lavas constituted main part of outcrops in the region. Compression caused by continental collision in Alpine orogeny from the late Triassic Period to present, has led to significant bed folding on each other and thrusting them in a large distance.

Stunning scenic views of the geosite area with observable thrusts and strike-slip faults, systematic joints, fault related folding and micro-folds can excite every visitor and create ineffaceable memories. Vast outcrops of limestone-dolostone formations with missive well bedded can help to detect structures like different type of folds and faults. Sedimentary layers rich in fossils of Brachiopods, Pelecypoda, Corals, Echinodermata and Ammonites has completed this beautiful picture.

Apart from its unique structural geology specifics, Dare-diz geosite has a significant biodiversity, both in flora and fauna, that placed it in the list of protected areas in department of Environment.

Kiyamaki Volcanic Dome

One of the most important factors in creating such a sharp and steep topography in the Geopark is volcanism in geological history of the area. Most significant volcanic activity has occurred in Oligocene Epoch (34 to 24 Ma), which lead to creating Kiyamaki mount.

The dominant lithology of its volcanic rocks is Dacite. It is extrusive igneous rock that form in result of magma eruption from the depth in the Earth. Large silica content of Dacitic magma make it very viscous. So these types of magmas flow hardly and slowly on the ground. In the way to waterfalls, looking carefully, one can distinguish the boundary between this Dacitic lava and their underlying limestone rocks.

With elevation of 3347 m above sea level, topographic prominence of 2000, and height of 2600 above Jolfa Plain, the Kiyamaki summit is snowy and cloudy in most of the year. The summit is iconic, it is among the popular climbing targets and many climbers try to ascent it every year.

Maharan Waterfalls

One of the geo-tourism interesting in the Geopark is the western steep slopes of Kiyamaki mountains and the valley ended with Maharan waterfalls. Maharan valley with its roaring waterfall cascades can be reached by walking on a rural road from Qeshlaq village to its nearby valley.

Some of the most interesting geological features in the area include prismatic joints formed in volcanic rocks, also Quaternary glacial evidences in the hemispherical valley of Qeshlaq village. The latter has formed as a great depression like a large scale amphitheater which presents a glacial cirque.

Breathtaking mountain views and significant climate change from this region to its downstream is so that has a pleasant weather with relatively low temperature even in early summer, attracting many visitors.

Asiyab-kharabe Waterfall

Asiyab-kharabe (broken water mill) waterfalls is located in 25 km east of Jolfa city, along the Jolfa-Siahrood road. In this location, near an abandoned watermill, there is a travertine spring that flows from a cleft in the rocks. The cleft, in fact, is the entry of a cave that long 150 m and end to a chamber where is the main appearance of the spring. Its water stream passing close to the abandoned watermill end to a waterfall with a height of 10 m, where dense hydrophilic plants are grown.

Beautiful folding stretched in Cretaceous flysch deposits on the left side slopes of Asiyab-kharabe valley. These chevron folds in the alternate sandstone-shale layers provide a wonderful perspective and attract the interest and curiosity of people. Fossils and various sedimentary structures in the base of sandstone beds complete this stunning picture, phenomena that represent bioactivity in the Neotethys seabed living near 70 million years ago and probably are ancestors of some of the present day animals.

How to get there!

Aras Geopark area is located in the northwest of Iran,east Azerbaijan Province and spread across the whole Jolfa county. The county has three cities: Jolfa, Hadishaher and Siah-rood. It is easily accessible from various parts of Iran and neighbouring countries by air, rail and road.


This area is mountainous and features semi-arid and semi-cold climate. Average annual precipitation ranges between 250 to 350 mm and the mean temperature is about 15 oC.

Approximately seventy days of the year are considered as the number of freeze days. In seasons, particularly spring and fall, the temperatures are more moderate and it is the best time to visit this area.

 By car

There is 136 Km distance between Tabriz and Jolfa. It would take 1 hour 40 minutes to go there. It will pass by Sofian and Marand cities which is the shortest way to get there. The old road which is run a little way to the north and is crossed Kalibar city, is another way to travel from Tabriz to the Geopark and Jolfa area. Although it takes longer time to reach your destination, you will be interested in Iran’s natural sceneries.

The Geopark region is located in Aras free trade-industrial zone, therefore imported cars that intend to travel in free zone must have a special license plate. These cars are free of customs duty and are allowed to travel anywhere within a radius of 135 km, even city of Tabriz.

By bus

Every day numerous buses from all over the country especially Tabriz and Tehran, travel to the area and Jolfa city. Hadishahr city is the terminal for the buses going to the Geopark. If you want to know, it just takes 10 minutes to get from Jolfa to Hadishahr by car.

By train

Trains from Tabriz have regular services into Jolfa. Tabriz trains travel to and from Jolfa on a Daily basis drop-off at 8:15 and 8:45 and pick up at 19:00 and 19:45 from Jolfa station. It’s takes 2 hours and 45 minutes. You should know that the passengers who travel by train during New Year’s Eve in late March to early April are free of charge.

If you want to travel to Tabriz and Jolfa from Tehran and elsewhere, the time of arrival from Tehran to Jolfa is at least 17 hours. Although it is a long journey, you can enjoy your trip by sightseeing and relaxing along the way.

By Air

Tabriz airport is the nearest airport to Jolfa. To get from the airport to Jolfa county only takes one and a half hours by car.

Recently for the first time in Iran, an Air taxi services has been launched between Tabriz and Jolfa by helicopter in Aras free zone. This allows you to travel faster and more conveniently than before as it takes just 40 minute to reach your destination.




The consolidation of the Iranian basement by metamorphism, partial granitization and partly by intense folding took place in the Late Precambrian. This event has been attributed to the ‘Baikalian’ or Pan–African Orogeny by various authors. Isotopic data of Iranian basement rocks give ages between 600 and 900 Ma. A similar range of isotopic data had been obtained for Arabian Shield rocks. An important post-Pan-African magmatism is documented by the widespread Doran Granite, which cuts the Upper Precambrian rocks and is covered by Lower Cambrian sediments. Late Precambrian postorogenic volcanics, mainly alkali rhyolite, rhyolite tuff and basic dikes are known in the Eocambrian formations. In North and Central Iran, Kahar and Gharehdash Formations and the lower half of the Soltanieh Formation are of Precambrian age. The oldest rocks in Iran belong to the Kushk Series consisting of clastic sediments, acidic volcanic, tuff, and carbonates (mainly dolomite). Other formations of Late Precambrian–Early Cambrian ages include Rizu volcanic-sedimentary Formation, Dezu and Tashk Formations, Aghda limestone, Kalmard Series, Shorm Beds, and Anarak metamorphic units. The sedimentary facies of Precambrian–Lower Cambrian rocks in Northern Iran is different from that of Central Iran.


With the Pan-African orogeny and following this orogenic episode, shallow marine sediments formed in Late Vendian. The influence of the orogenic episode is evident at the base of the Vendian sediments. Deposition of shallow marine sediments covered large areas in Iran during Paleozoic (e.g., Alborz, East of Iran, Zagros). There is strong stratigraphic evidence that transition from Vendian to Lower Cambrian was a progressive one, without hiatuses; there is no evidence for any orogenic or epeirogenic movements in Iran at this time (e.g., south of Zanjan, Valiabad Chalus, Shahin Dezh). Early Cambrian started with an alternation of shale, phosphate-bearing limestone, and dolomite sitting conformably and transitionally over Vendian dolomites. Transition from Soltanieh Formation to Barut, Zaigoon, and Laloon Formations is very difficult to recognize in the field. Middle Cambrian is characterized by uplift and regression; however, a renewed progression at this time led to the deposition of Mila and Kuhbonan Formations, consisting of limestone, dolomite, and shale, over older units. These formations bear trilobites and brachiopods of Middle and Late Cambrian. In some areas, the Late Cambrian carbonate facies turns transitionally into Ordovician graptolite shales, known as Lashkarak Formation in Alborz, Shirgasht Formation in Central Iran and Ilbeyk and Zardkuh Formations in Zagros. In Kalmard area, Ordovician sediments are sitting on the Vendian sediments through an angular unconformity. In Late Ordovician, most parts of Iran were affected by epeirogenic movements; this coincides with Caledonian orogeny in Europe and some other parts of the earth. The epeirogeny caused a distinct hiatus at the Ordovician–Silurian boundary. Where present, the Silurian rocks in Iran consist mainly of limestone, sandstone, shale and volcanic materials, known as Niur Formation in Central Iran. The Lower Devonian rocks have been reported from several localities in Central Iran (e.g., Tabas, Sourian, Kerman, Zagros); however, they seem to be missing in Alborz and parts of Zagros. Upper Devonian is characterized by marine transgression, particularly in Alborz, that extends into Lower Carboniferous. With exception of Tabas area, no record of Middle Carboniferous marine deposits has yet been discovered in Iran. Upper Carboniferous deposits are not significantly present in Iran and have only been identified in several localities from index goniatites. After a general regression and a distinct hiatus in Upper Carboniferous, Permian marine transgression deposits cover most parts of Iran (e.g., Alborz, Zagros, Central Iran); The Permian sediments are represented by Dorood sandstones, Ruteh and Nesen limestones in Alborz.


The Lower Triassic sediments in Iran are mainly of shallow marine or continental shelf nature (e.g., Doroud sandstones and Elika dolomites in Alborz, Sorkh shales and Shotori dolomites in Central Iran. A continuous Permian–Triassic sequence has been reported from several areas in Iran, including Jolfa (northwest of Iran), Abadeh (Southern Central Iran), and Southern Urumiyeh (the continuation of the Taurus in Turkey), north of Kandovan and Southern Amol. Transition from Middle to Upper Triassic coincides with Early Cimmerian orogenic episode, which led to the segmentation of the sedimentary basin into three sub-basins: Zagros in the south and southwest, Alborz in the north, and Central Iran. The Lower Jurassic rocks conformably overlie the Upper Triassic units; so are the Early Cretaceous deposits over the Upper Jurassic strata (e.g., Zagros). In North and Central Iran, the Upper Triassic and Lower–Middle Jurassic sediments have a detrital nature, consisting mainly of shale and sandstone with thicknesses varying from a few meters to more than 3,000 m. The presence of plant remains and coal beds suggest a continental or lagoon environment for the deposits. The Cretaceous deposits, characterized by diverse sedimentary facies, are widespread all over Iran. In Late Cretaceous, tectonic movements related to the Laramide orogeny affects most parts of Iran, leading to uplift, folding, and faulting. This is a prelude to significant developments in the geological evolution of Iran.


In Iran the Cenozoic begins with the Cretaceous–Paleocene boundary that is characterized by striking changes in sedimentary environments (e.g., Alborz, Central Iran). An unconformity has been reported from many locations in Iran. Both continuous and discontinuous transitions have been discovered between Paleocene and Eocene strata; as is the case with Eocene and Oligocene (e.g., Central Iran). The Oligocene and Miocene stages are characterized by rapid subsidence, deposition, and facies changes in both marine and continental sedimentary basins (e.g., Mahneshan and Halab south of Zanjan). Oligocene sediments in most parts of Iran are of shallow marine character, turning into marine facies in Upper Oligocene through Lower Miocene (e.g., Qom). The Middle–Upper Miocene sediments are mostly of continental nature. The Quaternary is the prominent feature of the plains of Iran.

Pirzal Perched syncline

In the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad province in the southwest of Iran, along the road of Dehdasht to Sarfariab city, when pass through the pirzal gorge, we enter to the plain between the two mountains “Siah” and “Mondon”. The two mountains, Siah and Mondon, are anticlines that extend along the northwest to the south-east. In the plain between the two anticlines, there is a beautiful perched syncline.

Syncline is a geologic feature like a “V” fold in layered sedimentary ground, which often occurs when the layers tend to go horizontally, but twisted by the tectonic forces. In analogy, an “anticline” is the convex opposite form, where the sedimentary layers form a dome, and a “monocline” is flat.

A “perched syncline”, or “perched synclinal”, differenciates itself by the fact it stands elevated from the surrounding terrain. Contrary to the monoclines, they form very characteristic mountains, looking like fortresses surrounded by walls.

In fact, a perched syncline is formed when the central layers of syncline (younger) have more resistance than the outer layers (older) against erosion. In this case, the outer stones are eroded and the strong rocks remains in the center. These strong rocks remain in the form of a ship stands elevated from the surrounding terrain and form a perched syncline.

In center of Pirzal perched syncline, thick to medium bedded limestone (Asmari formation – Oligomiocene in age) and on the sides, alternation of Marl and thin bedded limestone (Pabdeh formation – Eocene to Oligocene) have been outcropped. Over the time, marls have been eroded, and strong limestones remain in the center.

This beautiful photo was taken by M.S.Zangeneh looking northward.

Keywords: Iran , Kohgiluyeh , Zagros , Anticline , Syncline , Perched syncline , dehdasht , sarfaryab , geology , geotourism , asmari formation , pabdeh formation , mondon anticline , kuh e siah anticline , pirzal gorge , zamingasht

Abarkuh Sinkholes

The Sinkhole is a depression or hole in the ground caused by some form of collapse of the surface layer. Most are caused by karst processes—for example, the chemical dissolution of carbonate rocks or suffusion processes. Sinkholes vary in size from 1 to 600 m both in diameter and depth, and vary in form from soil-lined bowls to bedrock-edged chasms. Sinkholes may form gradually or suddenly, and are found worldwide.(wikipedia)

Abarkuh County in south-west of Yazd province in center of IRAN have faced with some sinkhole occurrences in recent years which have caused significant damages to agriculture lands and other infrastructures of villages in this area.

From 2000 to 2005 more than 30 sinkholes had happened near Faizabad village. According the geological map of this area, sinkholes have formed on quaternary layers with maximum 13.5 meters and minimum 0.5 meters deep.

Photo by: Siamak Mohammadi Sivandi


Keywords: Abarkuh , Geology , Geotourism , Iran , Quaternary , Sediment , sinkhole , underground water , zamingasht

Mila Formation in Central Alborz

The Mila Formation is one of the Cambrian formations in Alborz.  The Mila Formation has 5 measurable members in type section (Mila Kuh, Damghan City). This formation overlies conformably the Early Cambrian Lalun Formation and underlies disconformably the Early Devonian red conglomerates. But on the Chalus road in Central Alborz, four members of this formation are visible and measurable.

The first member is a white base quartzite (BQ), which in the past was a member of the lower formation (Lalun), but according to detailed studies, the boundary of this unit with underlying sandstone layers is considered to be discontinuous.

The Second member consist of Dolomite with interbedded of yellow Shale and Marl. Third member is well bedded Limestone with a few shale. Forth member is course grained glauconitic limestone. Fifth member consist of Siltstone, Sandstone, Glauconitic limestone and Marl.

In the Image, Mila formation outcrops in Chaloos road, near Hasanakdar Village. Because of the tectonic forces, the rocky layers are cut, broken, and displaced by faults.

The lower boundary of this formation with the Lalun Formation is para unconformity and indicated with the white quartzite layers. The upper boundary of this formation in this area is determined by the Hassanakdar fault and the outcrop of lava in the Geirud Formation. All the thickness of the Mila Formation (without quartzite) in the Karaj valley is 395 meters (Lorenz, 1964). In this region without the quartzite member, only three members of the Mila Formation have been identified.

In the photo, the formations of Lalun (La), Mila (Mi), Ruteh (Ru), Jeyrud (Je), Elika (El) and quartzite member of the Mila Formation (BQ) are seen.

Keywords: Iran , Central Alborz , Geology , Geotourism , formation , Mila , ruteh , jeyrud , elika , chaloos road , limestone , sandstone , siltstone , dolomite , shale , marl , zamingasht

Star Valley

The Star Valley, which is called “Estareh Kafteh” in local dialect, is one of the most important erosional phenomena in Iran. this valley is located in south east of Qeshm Island in Persian Gulf. In this valley there is variety of geomorphological phenomena which shaped several interconnected branches of small valleys.

Besides the mechanical erosion of water which is the main factor of shaping this area, there are many other factors such as different types of rocks with different resistance, the intercalation of gypsum and the different regional tectonic activities.

The walls of the valley are formed by two types of layer: the thick and soft layer in bottom and the thin and hard layer on top. As the top layer has calcareous cement, is more resistance than the loose lower one; so it acts as the protector. Therefor where ever the top layer was destroyed or has some joints, erosion effects quickly and it causes the small valley’s forming.

Referring to the mentioned causes; the layers of this valley are so brittle, so even the weight of just one person can be dangerous and causes collapsing. Although the upper layer may seems to be strong, but the lower layers may has been destroyed due to erosion.

The Mishan formation is the main formation of the Star Valley. In Qeshm Island this formation includes the alternation of marl and silty marl in olive green to grey color with some lenses of intra formation conglomerate which intercalates with sandstones.

The age of formation in star valley back to Middle or late Miocene (5 to 10 million years ago), but the phenomena relates to several thousand years ago.

In sedimentary sequences of Mishan formation, there is variety of structures such as thin – middle – thick and massive layering, fossiliferous limestone and sandstone in the channel shapes, graded bedding, plane lamination, lens form lamination and other structures can be found.

From the structural geology point of view, the layers in the Star Valley have low dip or they are horizontal. Due to tectonic activites in Mishan formation, the systematic joints have been created in this area. The gravity force and weathering and erosional phenomena are the main reason of joints opening.

In local ancient’s belief, this valley has been formed by impact a meteorite and rising up of stones and soils and freezing there. On the other hand, they believed this valley was the resort goblins and the voice of howling the wind was because of their movements.

Keywords: Erosion , Geo site , Geology , Geotourism , Iran , Limestone , Marl , Mishan formation , Persian gulf , Qeshm Island , Sandstone , Star Valley

Asmari formation

The Oligocene–Miocene Asmari Formation of the Zagros Basin is a thick sequence of shallow water carbonate. Asmari formation is the youngest and most important reservoir rock of the zagros Basin in the south-west of Iran.

The Asmari formation has been divided into two members: one is the Sandstone Member of Ahwaz in the south-west of the Khuzestan area and the other one is the Evaporate Member of Kalhor in the Lorestan Province. This formation is divided into three units: the lower Asmari with an Oligocene age, the Middle Asmari with an Aquitanian age, and Upper Asmari with a Burdigalian age. However, these divisions do not exist everywhere.

Also, in some parts of Iran, the lower boundary of Asmari formation is in contact with the Pabdeh Shale formation which is of Paleocene-Oligocene age, but in central Lorestan this formation is overlying the Late Eocene Shahbazan formation and in internal Fars it show a paraconformable contact with the Jahrum formation (Eocene).

The Asmari formation is covered by anhydrites of the Gachsaran formation which is of Early Miocene age, and in internal Fars the upper boundary of Asmari formation is in contact with the Early Miocene Razak formation.

The photo shows the Asmari limestone formation (As) and Gachsaran formation (Gs) Along the shore of Karun 4 Lake Dam near Lordegan city in Chahar mahal va bakhtiyari Province.

Keywords: Asmari formation , Bakhtiyari formation , Gachsaran formation , Geotourism , Iran , Iran Geology , Iran Geotourism , Pabdeh formation , Zagros Mountain , zamingasht

Badab-e Surt

Badab Soort (Persian: باداب سورت‎‎) is a natural site in Mazandaran Province in northern Iran, 95 kilometres south of the city of Sari, and 7 kilometres west of Orost village. It comprises a range of stepped travertine terrace formations that has been created over thousands of years as flowing water from two mineral hot springs cooled and deposited carbonate minerals on the mountainside.

Badab is a Persian compound of Bād “gas” + āb “water”, translating to “gassed water”, referring to the springs’ waters being carbonated mineral waters. Soort is an old name for the Orost village and a Persian word meaning intensity.

Badab Soort’s springs are two distinct mineral springs with different natural characteristics, located at 1,840 metres above sea level. The first spring contains very salty water that gathers in a small natural pool; its water is considered to have medicinal properties, especially as a cure for rheumatism and some types of skin diseases and skin conditions. The second spring has a sour taste and is predominately orange mainly due to the large iron oxide sediments at its outlet.


Badab Soort’s terraces are made of travertine, a sedimentary rock deposited by flowing water from the two distinct mineral springs; they were formed during Pleistocene and Pliocene geological periods. When the water, supersaturated with calcium carbonate and iron carbonate, reaches the surface, carbon dioxide degases from it, and mineral carbonates are deposited. The depositing continues until the carbon dioxide in the water balances the carbon dioxide in the air. Iron carbonate and calcium carbonate are deposited by the water as soft jellies, but they eventually harden into travertine.


As a result, over the course of thousands of years the water from these two springs emanating from the mountain range have combined and resulted in a number of orange-, red- and yellow-colored pools shaped as a naturally formed staircase. The surrounding vegetation to the north consists of pine forests while to the east it mainly consists of short trees and shrubs; and rock quarries can be seen to the west of the site.

Photos taken by M.S.Mirkazemian.

Oligocene red deposits

After Pyrenean orogeny, central of Iran was under the influence of weathering and erosion. Caused materials were deposited in alluvial environments, floodplains or temporary tropical lakes.
These deposits are located between the upper Eocene rocks (mostly pyroclastic and igneous rocks) and Late Oligocene in “Central Iran” (one of the tectonostratigraphy state of Iran plateau) as “Lower red formation” are known.
The “Lower red” was first proposed by Ganser for the red deposits between Eocene volcano-sedimentary rocks and Oligocene-Miocene marine layers (Qom formation) in 1955.
This formation represents the red Oligocene continental deposits in west of Central Iran, particularly are widespread in Qom, Tafresh, southeast of Tehran, north of Garmsar and north of Semnan .
The picture was taken from Lower red formation near Ghezeljeh village in the 20 kilometers northwest of the Tafresh. In this area, the alternation of red sandy marl and conglomerates with intercalations of green and gray sandstone are deposited that called Lower red formation.

Oligomiocene sandstone was located on the Lower red formation with unconformity.

Iran is the paradise for geologists

Iran is the paradise for geologists. This sentence was said by International geologists, after visiting Iran and see the natural beauty and geological phenomena. Iran is due to being in the Alpine Himalayan orogenic belt and collision zone of the Eurasian – Gondwana supercontinents, has a complex and interesting geological history. 

Tectonic movements, compression and tensile forces, uplift and erosion, in a vast land with low vegetation,have created the beautiful and eye-catching landscapes of geological phenomena.

Deserts, plains and mountains, high plateaus, rivers and waterfalls, seas and lakes, faults, folds, salt domes, landslides and mass movements, volcanoes and associated structures, rocky outcrops, slopes and alluvial plains, beautiful caves, numerous mines, fossils and minerals varied, part of Iran’s natural and geological beauty.

You probably knew Iran in the past, with it’s magnificent and the greatness monuments, The great and monumental history, and kind and hospitable people. So give us your hands until you’re familiar with other beauties of Iran. There are many Geo Parks and Geo sites in Iran that will increase your enjoyment of travel to this country. We show you the unique natural beauty in Iran, that Like it less seen.

The hottest place on Earth, the largest lake on Earth, the biggest landslide in history, one of the world’s largest water cave, the highest volcano in Asia, one of the world’s largest salt lake, one of the world’s tallest stone wall, one of the largest deserts in the world, beautiful and unique salt domes, one of the unique stone cities of the world, and other beautiful landscapes are all in Iran.

All the attractions with low cost traveling, unbeatable security, and hospitable people, have turned Iran into an attractive destination for travel.

“Zamin gasht” is a window to meet you the natural beauty and geological phenomena of Iran. We have a number of Iranian geologists that are trying to identified beautifully of Iran’s geology to tourists and Geo-tourists in all over the world.