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Publication Detail
Constraints for timing of extensional tectonics in the western margin of the Red Sea in Eritrea
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Article
  • Authors:
    Ghebreab W, Carter A, Hurford AJ, Talbot CJ
  • Publisher:
    ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV,
  • Publication date:
    20/06/2002
  • Pagination:
    107, 119
  • Journal:
    Earth and Planetary Science Letters
  • Volume:
    200
  • Issue:
    1-2
  • Print ISSN:
    0012-821X
  • Keywords:
    Red Sea; Eritrea; extension; fission-track dating; thermochronology
  • Addresses:
    Univ London Birkbeck Coll, Res Sch Geol Sci, Gower St, London, WC1E 6BT
Abstract
Recent work on asthenosphere-lithosphere coupling reinforces past observations that active and passive rifting models do not adequately describe real rifts. There remains insufficient knowledge of fundamental controls on rift architecture. In the actively extending Red Sea margin of eastern Eritrea, which lies at the Red Sea/Danakil-Gulf of Aden and the East African rift triple junction zone, the geometry and kinematics of extension are complex and poorly defined due to large data gaps. Extension and sea-floor spreading in both the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden have influenced the Neogene tectonic development of Eritrea but many of the structures have Pan-African origins and do not follow normal plate opening geometries. To constrain the rifting history in eastern Eritrea, apatite fission-track thermochronologic data were measured for 22 Pan-African rock samples. Results identify late Oligocene-early Miocene cooling coincident with extension and erosion along the conjugate margin in Yemen. A younger age group, confined to Mt Ghedem, relates to an episode of fault reactivation and dyke injection that began similar to10 Ma coincident with rotation of the nearby Danakil block. Initially this was driven by onset of sea-floor spreading in the Gulf of Aden and later, in the Pliocene, aided by northward rifting in the Afar depression concomitant with spreading in the Red Sea. These different processes highlight the complex linkage between different extensional events and rift architecture.
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