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Recent volcano-tectonic activity of the Ririba rift and the evolution of rifting in South Ethiopia

Abstract : The relationships between volcanic activity and tectonics at the southernmost termination of the Main Ethiopian Rift (MER), East Africa, still represent a debated problem in the MER evolution. New constraints on the timing, evolution and characteristics of the poorly documented volcanic activity of the Dilo and Mega volcanic fields (VF), near the Kenya-Ethiopia border are here presented and discussed. The new data delineate the occurrence of two distinct groups of volcanic rocks: 1) Pliocene subalkaline basalts, observed only in the Dilo VF, forming a lava basement faulted during a significant rifting phase; 2) Quaternary alkaline basalts, occurring in the two volcanic fields as pyroclastic products and lava flows issued from monogenetic edifices and covering the rift-related faults. 40Ar/39Ar dating constrains the emplacement time of the large basal lava plateau to ~3.7 Ma, whereas the youngest volcanic activity characterising the two areas dates back to 134 ka (Dilo VF) to as recent as the Holocene (Mega VF). Volcanic activity developed along tectonic lineaments independent from those of the rift. No direct relations are observed between the Pliocene, roughly N-S-trending major boundary faults of the Ririba rift and the NE-SW-oriented structural trend characteristic of the Quaternary volcanic activity. We speculate that this change in structural trend may be the expression of (1) inherited crustal structures affecting the distribution of the recent volcanic vents, and (2) a local stress field controlled by differences in crustal thickness, following a major episode of reorganization of extensional structures in the region due to rift propagation and abandonment
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Submitted on : Monday, July 6, 2020 - 4:26:37 PM
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Zara Franceschini, Raffaello Cioni, Stéphane Scaillet, Giacomo Corti, Federico Sani, et al.. Recent volcano-tectonic activity of the Ririba rift and the evolution of rifting in South Ethiopia. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, Elsevier, In press, ⟨10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2020.106989⟩. ⟨insu-02890952⟩

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