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Modes of rifting in magma-rich settings: Tectono-magmatic evolution of Central Afar

Abstract : Recent research in Afar (northern Ethiopia) has largely focused on the formation of the present-day ocean-continent transition at active segments (e.g., Manda Hararo). However, the Oligo-Miocene history of extension, from the onset of rifting at ~25 Ma to the eruption of the massive Stratoïd flood basalts at ~4 Ma, remains poorly constrained. Here we present new structural data and radiometric dating from Central Afar, obtained along a zone stretching from the undeformed Oligocene Ethiopian plateau to the Manda Hararo and Tat'Ale active volcanic segments. Basaltic and rhyolitic formations were mapped in two key areas corresponding to the proximal and distal parts of a half-rift. We present a balanced composite cross section of Central Afar, reconstructed using our new data and previously published geophysical data on the crustal structure. Our main findings are as follows: (1) Extension during the Mio-Pliocene corresponds to a “wide rift” style of rifting. (2) The lower crust has been underplated/intruded and rethickened during rifting by magmatic injection. (3) Our restoration points to the existence of midcrustal shear zones that have helped to distribute extension in the upper crust and to localize extension at depth in a necking zone. Moreover, we suggest that there is a close relationship between the location of a shear zone and the underplated/intruded material. In magma-rich environments such as Central Afar, breakup should be achieved once the initial continental crust has been completely replaced by the newly, magmatically accreted crust. Consequently, and particularly in Afar, crustal thickness is not necessarily indicative of breakup but instead reflects differences in tectono-magmatic regimes.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - 4:38:16 PM
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Martin Stab, Nicolas Bellahsen, Raphaël Pik, Xavier Quidelleur, Dereje Ayalew, et al.. Modes of rifting in magma-rich settings: Tectono-magmatic evolution of Central Afar. Tectonics, American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2016, 35 (issue 1), pp.2-38. ⟨10.1002/2015TC003893⟩. ⟨hal-01302926⟩

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