Journey from Esfahan to Shiraz
We decided to take the scenic route through the Zagros Mountains between Esfahan and Shiraz. We used taxis to do this. It was the only way to really get to see the mountains. I really wanted to do this because I've seen satellite photos of these amazing mountains in textbooks and always wanted to see the real thing.
The Zagros Mountains are a great example of a young fold and thrust belt. Collision between the Arabian continent and Eurasia since Miocene time (23 million years ago) has caused the rock layers to become folded into beautiful large-scale round cylindrical folds. The landscape reflects the structure of the rocks: individual folds form long mountains separated by flat valleys.
Paddy fields in a valley in the Zagros.
Quick snappy photos from the car. Look at the sedimentary layers. They look all contorted but its just the way they are being eroded; the way they are intersected by the bumpy eroded surface of the mountain. It looks a bit like a worn bit of old driftwood.
Zagros scene with olive groves. Fold-mountain in the background with nearly vertical layers at the edge and horizontal on the top.
Looking along the side of one giant fold. :-) Great structural geology.
The taxi driver ripped us off though. He was mean. We eventually got to Shiraz, tired, and found a hotel fairly easily. We went for a bit of a wander to get a bite to eat and a couple of rather camp young men called Kevin and Benjamin befriended us. They took us to a fancy ice cream and coffee shop and bought us some delicious ice creams. We wandered up to the castle and sat around chatting for a bit. Kevin was so excited to meet us and begged us to meet him again the next day. He was very persuasive. We agreed. Although we just wanted to see Persepolis.