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a mountain system in Iran, to the southwest of the Iranian Plateau. The mountains are about 1,600 km long and 200-300 km wide; elevations of 2,000- 3,000 m predominate, with a maximum of 4,548 m (Zardeh Kuh). It is complex system of 15-20 parallel ridges running from the northwest to the southeast and separated by longitudinal and transversal canyon-like ravines (tangi) and hollows. The mountains are formed primarily of limestone and shale of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic periods; karst has developed. In the central section and to the southeast a pre-Mesozoic bed with large salt domes has been exposed. There are deposits of oil. The climate is dry and subtropical; mountain desert landscapes predominate. In the central belt of the western, wettest part of the Zagros there are forests and sparse stands of oak, elm, maple, and acacia; higher, there are alpine meadows and dwarfed shrubby vegetation.There are small glaciers. In the intermontane hollows there are salt marshes, lakes, and oases with date palms, citrus trees, and grapevines.