TS2.1 | Continental rift evolution: from inception to break-up
Continental rift evolution: from inception to break-up
Co-organized by GD5/SM4/SSP1
Convener: Frank Zwaan | Co-conveners: Sylvie Leroy, Giacomo Corti, Carolina Pagli, Ameha Muluneh
| Wed, 17 Apr, 08:30–12:30 (CEST)
Room D1
Posters on site
| Attendance Wed, 17 Apr, 16:15–18:00 (CEST) | Display Wed, 17 Apr, 14:00–18:00
Hall X2
Orals |
Wed, 08:30
Wed, 16:15
Continental rifting is a complex process spanning from the inception of extension to continental rupture or the formation of a failed rift. This session aims at combining new data, concepts and techniques elucidating the structure and dynamics of rifts and rifted margins. We invite submissions highlighting the time-dependent evolution of processes such as: initiation and growth of faults and ductile shear zones, tectonic and sedimentary history, magma migration, storage and volcanism, lithospheric necking and rift strength loss, influence of the pre-rift lithospheric structure, rift kinematics and plate motion, mantle flow and dynamic topography, as well as break-up and the transition to sea-floor spreading. We encourage contributions using multi-disciplinary and innovative methods from field geology, geochronology, geochemistry, petrology, seismology, geodesy, marine geophysics, plate reconstruction, or numerical or analogue modelling. Special emphasis will be given to presentations that provide an integrated picture by combining results from active rifts, passive margins, failed rift arms or by bridging the temporal and spatial scales associated with rifting.

Session assets

Orals: Wed, 17 Apr | Room D1

Chairpersons: Frank Zwaan, Sylvie Leroy, Carolina Pagli
On-site presentation
Freysteinn Sigmundsson, Michelle Parks, Halldór Geirsson, Andrew Hooper, Vincent Drouin, Kristín Vogfjörð, Benedikt Ófeigsson, Sonja H. M. Greiner, Yilin Yang, Chiara Lanzi, Gregory Paul De Pascale, Kristín Jónsdóttir, Sigrún Hreinsdóttir, Valentyn Tolpekin, Hildur María Friðriksdóttir, Páll Einarsson, and Sara Barsotti

A 15 km long dike formed rapidly in the Reykjanes Peninsula oblique rift on 10 November 2023 and propagated under the town of Grindavík.  From just before noon on 10 November until midnight, around 25 MW≥4 earthquakes occurred, two of which were of MW~5.2. Three-dimensional ground deformation is well resolved both temporally and spatially with dense Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) geodetic observations, which record cumulative displacements up to about 80 cm occurring mostly over 6 hours in the evening of 10 November and continuing at much reduced rates in the following days. Interferometric analysis of synthetic aperture radar images using Sentinel-1, COSMO-SkyMed, and ICEYE satellites records also well the dike deformation, which occurred simultaneously with deflation over the nearby central part of the Svartsengi volcanic system. Geodetic modelling, assuming uniform elastic host rock behavior, infers a dike volume of (130-139)×106 m3, with up to ~8 m dike opening, as well as some strike-slip shear motion. Deflation at Svartsengi in our model is best fit using a spherical point source with a volume decrease of (76-82)×106 m3up until 12 November. The temporal evolution of the dike opening was further modelled using hourly GNSS displacements, allowing better derivation of the temporal evolution of the flow rate into the dike and the contraction volume of the subsidence source. The maximum flow rate into the dike is inferred to be ~9500 m3/s, between 18:00 and 19:00 on November 10. We infer that the massive magma flow into the dike was established with only modest overpressure in the feeding magma body, a sufficiently large pathway opening at the boundary of the magma body, and pre-failure lowering of pressure along the pathway that had occurred through gradual build-up of high tensile stress over the previous eight centuries. This explains the unprecedented fast maximum magma flow rates that we infer. Such high flow rates provide insight into the formation of giant dike swarms under conditions of high tensile stress, and imply a high hazard potential for dike intrusions, considering their potential to transition into eruptions.


How to cite: Sigmundsson, F., Parks, M., Geirsson, H., Hooper, A., Drouin, V., Vogfjörð, K., Ófeigsson, B., Greiner, S. H. M., Yang, Y., Lanzi, C., De Pascale, G. P., Jónsdóttir, K., Hreinsdóttir, S., Tolpekin, V., Friðriksdóttir, H. M., Einarsson, P., and Barsotti, S.: The November 2023 Grindavik dike injection in Iceland:  Implications for continental rifting, dike formation in extensional tectonic settings, and giant dike swarms, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-14829, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-14829, 2024.

On-site presentation
J. Kim Welford

A new onshore-offshore 3-D constrained gravity inversion methodology that incorporates onshore topography and laterally variable inversion mesh depths is used to determine the crustal density distributions, Moho depths, and crustal thicknesses of Iberia, Morocco, and their respective rifted continental margins. The results largely show an excellent correspondence with crustal characteristics determined from sparsely distributed controlled-source and passive seismic experiments, while also allowing the layered density structure of the region to be explored and analyzed in terms of upper, middle, and lower crustal layers. These detailed regional views as a function of depth can improve characterization of crustal types (continental versus oceanic versus transitional), and the resulting interpretations can be directly compared against equivalently derived crustal characteristics for onshore-offshore Atlantic Canada, which encapsulates both Iberia’s and Morocco’s conjugate rifted margins. Collectively, the conjugate 3-D crustal-scale density models allow for the extraction of mega-transects across both sides of the southern North Atlantic, joined together back through geological time using kinematic plate reconstructions.

How to cite: Welford, J. K.: Crustal structure of onshore-offshore Iberia, Morocco, and their rifted continental margins, from constrained 3-D gravity inversion using variable mesh depths, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-3196, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-3196, 2024.

On-site presentation
Laura Gómez de la Peña, César R. Ranero, Manel Prada, Donna Shillington, and Valentí Sallarès

Driven by discovery of contrasting structures of Continent to Ocean Transition (COT) discovered at rifted continental margins during the 90’s, several high-quality seismic datasets were acquired in these margins during the early 2000 to unravel the structure of unexplored regions. Despite the fact that some of these datasets are basically comparable to modern data in quality, the processing, imaging and modelling methodologies at the time of acquisition can be now refined and improved. Recent developments in parallel computing and novel geophysical approaches provide now the means to obtain a new look at the structure with enhanced resolution seismic models and a mathematically-robust analysis of the data uncertainty, that was formerly difficult, if not unfeasible, to achieve. 

We focused on the Newfoundland margin and applied up-to-date methodologies to the high-quality SCREECH dataset (2000). These data include three primary transects with coincident multichannel seismic (MCS) reflection data acquired with a 6-km streamer and wide-angle data recorded by short-period OBS and OBH spaced at ~15 km. We reprocessed the streamer data and also performed the join inversion of streamer and wide-angle OBS/OBH seismic data, using reflections and refraction arrivals, which significantly improved the resolution of the velocity model. We performed a statistical uncertainty analysis of the resulting model, supporting the reliability of the observed features. In particular the new velocity model provides a detailed definition of the top of the basement where the largest abrupt velocity change occurs. The comparatively high-resolution velocity model obtained from the joint tomography allowed to properly perform a Pre-Stack Depth Migration of the MCS. The improved velocity model and seismic images permit to characterize the different crustal domains of the margin with less uncertainty that previous attempts, and relate them to the tectonic structure.

The different domains reveal previously undetected crustal characteristics that change over short distances. The reprocessing of the MCS data allowed to a better understanding of the crustal structure, as the Moho is imaged for the first time under the slope domain.

Comparison of these new results on the Newfoundland margin with the most modern data on the West Iberian margin, acquired during FRAME (2018) and ATLANTIS (2022) cruises provides a new view of the evolution of the North Atlantic opening.

How to cite: Gómez de la Peña, L., R. Ranero, C., Prada, M., Shillington, D., and Sallarès, V.: New results on the crustal configuration of the Newfoundland margin: Implications for rifting, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-9947, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-9947, 2024.

On-site presentation
Julia Fonseca, César Ranero, Paola Vannucchi, David Iacopini, and Helenice Vital

The Brazilian Equatorial Margin (BEM) is classically interpreted as a transform margin formed during the last phases of the Atlantic rifting of Gondwana. However, rift kinematics and subsequent continental break up has not been constrained.

We present a new model based on the interpretation of a 2D seismic grid acquired along the BEM. The datasets, provided by the Brazilian National Agency for Petroleum (ANP), expand for ~600 km of the margin and consist of approximately 10.000 km of crustal scale 2D seismic reflection profiles which have been calibrated with industry drillholes. The integration of crustal-scale tectonic structures and age and distribution of synrift sediment deposits allowed to determine the style and the timing of the different tectonic phases and to define the crustal thinning evolution of the entire rift system along the Potiguar and East Ceará Basins (NE Brazil).

Our findings indicate that: 1. rifting started ~140-136 My, 2. extension stopped earlier (late Aptian) in the shallow sector of the basin than in the deep-water (early Albian) domains. The shallow basin domains presents minor crustal thinning (~35 thick crust over ~100 km wide), whereas in the deep-water domains, about ~60 km wide, the crust is 4-8 km thick and it extended into the early Albian (116-110 My).

The distribution of deformation structures supports a model of rift evolution where: deformation is initially distributed while forming a shallow basin; it evolves by focusing the extension; finally, extension migrates toward the basin centre to form the deep-water domain. Constraints from seismic reflection data and drillholes help define an abrupt continent to ocean transition (COT), and breakup occurred during the early Albian. Basin sedimentation from its onset to the late Aptian is terrigenous, indicating an isolated environment disconnected from the Northern and Southern Atlantic oceans. Sedimentation changed during the late-most Aptian to the early Albian when marine facies deposited during a rapid ocean water infill of a previously endorheic basin.

The seismic images document that rifting across the margin is not dominated by transcurrent deformation, with strike-slip faulting limited to a relatively small sector, whereas most of the margin extended through normal faulting deformation during opening.

From the interpretation of the 2D seismic reflection grid it was possible to distinguish abrupt lateral changes in the architecture of the basement. These changes defined three distinct, first order segments along the margin named Southern, Central, and Northern segments. The different evolution of the three segments throughout the rifting process is defined by thickness map of the basement. The Northern segment is the only region that shows evidence of potential late synrift magmatism, likely formed during the COT emplacement, which defines second order segmentation. Our interpretation suggests a spatial correlation between first-order tectonic segmentation and second-order magmatic segmentation during the embryonic formation of the spreading center with the definition of fracture zone/transform faults. These findings suggest that most transform faults formed on the spreading centers may have originated from the pattern of continental segmentation during rifting.

How to cite: Fonseca, J., Ranero, C., Vannucchi, P., Iacopini, D., and Vital, H.: Tectonic structure and evolution of Brazilian Equatorial Margin , EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-12991, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-12991, 2024.

On-site presentation
Christian Heine, Ken McDermott, James Eldrett, Colin Grant, and Philip Thompson

The spatio-temporal analysis of rifts and passive margin evolution is often done based on regional case studies, using non-standardized terminology and classification models to characterize crustal boundaries and basin infill. As example, the use of “continent-ocean boundary” to delineate crustal types or “syn-rift” as basin infill characterization has proven to be no longer adequate, given our evolved understanding of passive margins. In general, such local approaches do not lean themselves to aggregate data for global and large-scale comparative analysis and often struggle to reconcile the spatially varying magmatic/weakly magmatic margin architecture in a rift system context. They also do not allow efficient deployment of spatio-temporal data analytic models due to a lack of standardized data classification.

To overcome these limitations, we have designed a novel “data science-ready” data model for crustal architecture that is based on commonly accepted terminologies, can be used independent of input data heterogeneity and can be deployed globally across the whole spectrum of margin types and complex 3D margin geometries/microplate settings. We classify two key crustal boundaries, the oceanward limit of continental crust ("OLCC") and the landward limit of oceanic crust ("LaLOC"), along with several key crustal interfaces, such as the top basement and base crust which are further subdivided into sub-categories. This approach allows us to easily generate standardized data products on rift system scale, which quantitatively describe key parameters relevant to understand lithosphere extension dynamics, such as volumes, ratio, and distribution of continental and magmatic crust, crustal stretching factors, and amount of crustal embrittlement. Coupled with plate kinematic models, these data products allow to build reproducible, extensible, and quantitative models of rift and margin evolution through time and highlight the dynamics of stretching, localization of deformation, the basin infill response, and spatio-temporally varying patterns and types of magmatism.

Applying this data model, we have characterized the crustal architecture of the conjugate South Atlantic passive margins, interpreting more than 100k line-kilometers of 2D and 3D seismic reflection data. Our findings highlight substantial shortcomings of current plate models to reconcile the crustal type distributions in the southern South Atlantic with a tight pre-breakup fit, the temporal emplacement dynamics of SDRs and plume-related magmatism along the whole South Atlantic rift, as well as the localization of deformation and dynamics of basin infill.

How to cite: Heine, C., McDermott, K., Eldrett, J., Grant, C., and Thompson, P.: A generic crustal architecture data model for rift and passive margin analysis: Application to the conjugate South Atlantic margins, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-19671, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-19671, 2024.

On-site presentation
Egidio Armadillo, Daniele Rizzello, Pietro Balbi, Alessandro Ghirotto, Davide Scafidi, Guy Paxman, Andrea Zunino, Fausto Ferraccioli, Laura Crispini, Andreas Läufer, Frank Lisker, Antonia Ruppel, Danilo Morelli, and Martin Siegert

Recent sub-ice topography compilations of East Antarctica have imaged a wide sector, spanning from 100° E to 160° E in longitude and from the Oates, George V and Adelie coastlines to 85° S in latitude, which contains numerous low-lying basins of variable size and uncertain origin. The sector shows a Basin and Range style tectonics comprising two major basins of continental proportions, the Wilkes Basin and the Aurora Basin complex, and many smaller basins such as the Adventure, Concordia, Aurora and Vostok trenches. The main longitudinal axes of the basins consistently point towards the South Pole and many exhibit intriguing distinct triangular shapes, sitting within an approximately 2000 x 2000 km fan-shaped physiographic region limited by a semi-circular coast line. We name this region as the East Antarctic Fan shaped Basin Province (EAFBP). To the West, this sector is limited by the intraplate Gamburtsev Mountains (GM) and to the East by the Transantarctic Mountains (TAM) constituting the uplifted shoulder of the Cenozoic West Antarctic Rift System (WARS).

Origins and inter-relationships between these four fundamental Antarctic tectonic units (WARS, TAM, EAFBP, GM) are still poorly understood and strongly debated. Very little is known about the mechanism generating the basins in the EAFBP, their formation time, whether they are all coeval and if and how they relate to Australia basins before Antarctica-Australia rifting. Present genetic hypotheses for some of the basins span from continental rifting to a purely flexural origin or a combination of the two. Also, post-tectonic erosional and depositional processes may have had a significant impact on the present-day topographic configuration.

Here we interpret the EAFBP as the result of a single genetic mechanism: a wide fan-shaped intra-continental extension around a near pivot point at about 135° E, 85° S that likely occurred at the Mesozoic-Cenozoic transition. We discuss evidence from the sub-ice topography and potential field airborne and satellite data. We have applied image segmentation techniques to the rebounded sub-ice topography to semi-automatically trace the first order shape of the sub-ice basins, that we assume to be fault controlled. Then we have fitted the edges of the basins by maximum circles and estimated the best Euler pole identified by their intersection. Potential field anomalies have been taken into account in order to enlighten major discontinuities not revealed by the sub-ice topography.

The reconnaissance of this large sector of East Antarctica as the result of rotational extension may have major implications on global and regional tectonics plate reconstructions, plate deformation assumptions and new tectonic evolutionary models of WARS, TAM, and GM.

How to cite: Armadillo, E., Rizzello, D., Balbi, P., Ghirotto, A., Scafidi, D., Paxman, G., Zunino, A., Ferraccioli, F., Crispini, L., Läufer, A., Lisker, F., Ruppel, A., Morelli, D., and Siegert, M.: Some evidence of a wide rotational extension in East Antarctica preceding Gondwana breakup, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-14808, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-14808, 2024.

On-site presentation
Joint inversion of gravity and seismic data along the CMD01 profile on the southwestern margin of Madagascar and analysis of crustal structure
(withdrawn after no-show)
yongqi zhang and yon Tang
Virtual presentation
Armagan Kaykun and Russell Pysklywec

The tectonic formation of the Black Sea Basin (BSB) has been an ongoing debate: primarily, there is still not a consensus on whether the basin was rifted as one east-west oriented basin, or as two separate basins named Eastern and Western Black Sea Basins. These interpretations are based largely on deep-sea drilling projects and a growing dataset of seismic information (of variable access for academic use). Supporting the two-basin idea is the semi-parallel ridge and depression geometry of the BSB with NW-SE orientation in the Eastern portion of the Black Sea Basin; and W-E orientation in the Western portion of the Black Sea Basin. On the other hand, interpretations for a single basin are supported by the regional structure of the BSB being aligned with the geodynamic models of the basins rifted as a result of slab roll-back. Complicating the understanding of the basin extension and development is the inferred tectonic inversion to shortening in the region starting in the Late Eocene.

To propose a model to answer ongoing debates, we interpreted 24 long-offset 2D seismic lines acquired by GWL in 2011 in a structural geology context. We focused on the structural elements such as big scale normal faults, reverse faults, and tectonic inversion features to create a basis for our 2D computational models for both east and west portions of the BSB. One important finding was to determine the null points on basin bounding faults where the extensional tectonic movements stopped, and the compressional tectonic movements started. Utilizing the ASPECT geodynamic code, we built 2D computational models parallel to the selected two 2D seismic profiles. We compared our findings in our seismic interpretations with the results to understand the timing and basin-wide distribution of structural highs and the compressional tectonic features that shaped the BSB.

How to cite: Kaykun, A. and Pysklywec, R.: Structural Evolution of the Black Sea Basin Using Sectioned Computational Models, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-13432, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-13432, 2024.

On-site presentation
Igor Neevin, Pavel Rekant, and Leonid Budanov

The presentation is based on the results of the research work of the Arktic-2011, Arktic-2014 and Arktic-2022 expeditions and contains the results of analysis of the structure of the sedimentary cover of the Eurasian basin of the Arctic Ocean. For the first time, the entire array of seismic data, including Russian and foreign seismic profiles, was used for tectonic constructions. The results obtained make it possible to reconstruct extensive areas of continental lithosphere development in the Eurasian basin. Based on the analysis of the structure of the sedimentary cover of the Amundsen Basin, four stages of the geological history of the formation of the sedimentary system of the Eurasian basin of the Arctic Ocean are substantiated. During the first (Cretaceous-Paleocene) stage, extensive axis-symmetric epicontinental paleo-basins of the Amundsen and Nansen Basins were formed on the shoulders of the continental rift, which were subsequently separated by seafloor spreading. Evidence of similar riftogenic settings in the second half of the Cretaceous is recorded along the entire periphery of the Arctic basin from Greenland to the Chukchi Rise. The second (Eocene)-spreading stage was characterised by stage accretion of the oceanic crust in the Gakkel Ridge and was accompanied by a gradual expansion of the sedimentary basin up to the present-day boundaries of the Eurasian basin. The third stage (Oligocene-Miocene) of sedimentary flexure corresponded to the accumulation of a thick undisturbed sedimentary cover over the entire Eurasian basin, indicating the temporary cessation of spreading in the Gakkel Ridge and the establishment of a tectonic quiescence regime. Similar conditions at this stage are recorded throughout the periphery of the Arctic basin. The resumption of spreading processes occurred at the fourth (Pliocene-Quaternary) neotectonic stage. As the result of the intensification of spreading processes in the Norwegian-Greenland Basin, tectonic stresses penetrated intothe Eurasian Basin along the axis of the Gakkel Ridge. The distinct morphological division of the Gakkel Ridge into Siberian-Marine and Atlantic segments is explained by the jump-like transmission of tectonic stresses of the North Atlantic, which is also confirmed by the anomalously high tectonic, volcanic and hydrothermal activity of the Gakkel Ridge.

How to cite: Neevin, I., Rekant, P., and Budanov, L.: MODEL OF THE FORMATION OF THE SEDIMENTATION SYSTEM OF THE EURASIAN BASIN OF THE ARCTIC OCEAN AS A BASIS FOR RECONSTRUCTING Its TECTONIC HISTORY, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-18255, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-18255, 2024.

Coffee break
Chairpersons: Frank Zwaan, Carolina Pagli, Ameha Muluneh
Virtual presentation
3-D deformation analysis of geodetic networks along a subaerial back-arc rift: Observations from the Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand
(withdrawn after no-show)
Khalid Lakhouidsi, Ismail Rafaa, and Abdelali Fadil
On-site presentation
Yuriy Maystrenko and Trond Slagstad

Ocean closure and collisional orogeny frequently enrich the lithospheric mantle in incompatible chemical elements. The most intensive enrichment usually occurs during the subduction of continent-derived sediments and continental crust. Radioactive isotopes of uranium and thorium are part of the HFSE (high-field-strength elements) group of incompatible elements and, therefore, can be also characterized by increased concentration within the post-orogenic lithospheric mantle in comparison to the common lithospheric mantle. The anomalously high content of uranium and thorium within the post-orogenic mantle lithosphere is reflected by the composition of potassic and ultrapotassic magmas, which are sometimes extremely enriched in these radioactive elements. This enrichment is well documented by numerous studies and, therefore, cannot be ignored during the numerical modelling of rifting processes.

According to pure conductive thermal modelling, the anomalously increased content of radioactive elements within the post-orogenic lithospheric mantle causes a time-dependent rise in temperature, providing favourable conditions for intracontinental rifting more than 20-100 million years after the closure of the ocean. A time gap between the orogeny and highly increased temperature within the lithosphere is controlled by two major factors: (1) the amount of thorium and uranium and (2) the size of the anomalous lithospheric mantle. According to numerical thermo-mechanic modelling, the post-orogenic increase in temperature not only weakens the lithosphere but also causes thermal expansion of the lithosphere which can be sufficient to initiate the first stage of intracontinental rifting without involving regional extensional forces.

Therefore, we propose a new concept of intracontinental rift initiation as a result of time-dependent temperature increase and thermal expansion of the post-orogenic mantle lithosphere due to the decay of radioactive elements. The described rather simple mechanism of rift formation provides a significant advance in our understanding of both local rift processes and global tectonic cycles on our planet.

How to cite: Maystrenko, Y. and Slagstad, T.: Post-orogenic radiogenic initiation of intracontinental rifting within the lithospheric mantle, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-9325, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-9325, 2024.

Virtual presentation
Gaetano Ferrante, Eleonora Rivalta, and Francesco Maccaferri

Volcanism in continental rifts is generally observed to shift over time from the inside of the graben to its flanks and back. These patterns are commonly observed across rifts from different tectonic contexts, different abundance of melt, and regardless of the rifts' specific complexities, suggesting a common control. However, despite recent advances, the mechanisms governing the spatio-temporal evolution of rift magmatism are still poorly understood. Here we test the hypothesis that the spatio-temporal evolution of rift volcanism is controlled by the crustal stresses produced during the development of the rift basin. To do so, we couple a gravitational unloading model of crustal stresses with a boundary element dike propagation code to investigate the effect of a deepening graben on the evolution of magma trajectories in rifts. We find that the progressive deepening of a graben rotates the direction of the principal stresses in the crust, deflecting ascending dikes. This causes a relatively sudden shift of volcanism from the inside of the graben to its flanks during the early stages of rifting. The intensification of this stress pattern, caused by further deepening of the basin, promotes the formation of lower crustal sill-like intrusions. These horizontal bodies can stack under the rift, shallowing the depth at which dikes nucleate, eventually causing a late stage of in-rift axial volcanism, which can alternatively be induced by compensation of graben unloading by sediment infill. Our model reproduces the general patterns of volcanism in rifts and provides a framework to explain their commonalities and account for possible differences. Given the agreement between our model results and observations, we conclude that the evolution of the stresses generated by a developing rift basin can account alone for the major aspects of the spatio-temporal evolution of rift magmatism.

How to cite: Ferrante, G., Rivalta, E., and Maccaferri, F.: How developing grabens dictate volcanism shifts in rifts, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-6331, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-6331, 2024.

On-site presentation
Laurent Jolivet, Laurent Arbaret, and Romain Augier

Rifting in back-arc basins is characterized by large extension rates, low-angle normal faults and metamorphic core complexes (MCC) displaying partially molten cores and granitic intrusions. The Aegean metamorphic core complexes (MCC) were exhumed underneath crustal-scale detachments accommodating large displacements of the order of 50-100 km and were intruded by Miocene syn-kinematic granites. A common finite geometry and kinematics of all these detachment/pluton systems is recognized with asymmetric intrusive bodies extracted from anatectic lower crust, whose internal structure is controlled by the large-scale dynamics, from the magmatic stage to mylonitization and final exhumation in brittle conditions. Detachments are organized in sets of structures working sequentially evolving from ductile to brittle, the successive branches of the detachment being progressively inactivated by emplacing plutonic batches. The Mykonos-Delos-Rheneia (MDR) MCC shows these interactions between lower crustal migmatites and different syn-kinematic plutons. Our new detailed map of Delos (1/5000) shows geometrical and kinematic relationships between the different magmatic venues during deformation. A strong internal orientation of granites is observed from the magmatic stage until the last ultramylonites below the upper detachments. The deepest magmatic batches are rich in high-grade rocks septae and mafic enclaves, also oriented parallel to regional stretching. Evidence for magma mixing and mingling further indicates interactions with mafic venues at the base of the crust from the mantle. Large high-grade rocks septae are intensely molten and the contact zone between host gneiss and plutons shows intense migmatitization with a foliation parallel to the granite magmatic foliation. Characteristic banded facies marking the contacts between the different intrusions result from high-temperature shearing at the magmatic stage. At all scales foliation and lineation in magmatic rocks and surrounding gneisses are parallel, suggesting a similar weak rheology. Delos shows the roots of these intrusions emplaced as a large-scale sheath-fold whose axis is parallel to the regional stretching direction. The quality of outcrops in Delos, Rheneia and Mykonos, as well as the links between magma emplacement and regional tectonics makes the MDR MCC a natural laboratory for studying the interactions between magmatic intrusions and crustal deformation in tectonically active and hot contexts. In such contexts magmatic and tectonic processes in the lower and middle crusts appear closely interconnected, working at a similar pace and interacting with mantle deformation and melting.

How to cite: Jolivet, L., Arbaret, L., and Augier, R.: Continental back-arc extension, molten lower crust and syn-kinematic granites: insights from Cycladic MCCs, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-6489, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-6489, 2024.

On-site presentation
Costantino Zuccari, Francesco Mazzarini, Enrico Tavarnelli, Giulio Viola, Luca Aldega, Roelant Van der Lelij, and Giovanni Musumeci

Extensional detachments are commonly considered key structures in accommodating the exhumation of deeply buried or subducted crustal slivers, and in facilitating the syndeformation emplacement of plutons during the evolution of wide rift systems (i.e., Basin and Range type). In those settings, ductile shear zones and brittle faults may act for several million years to accommodate important vertical and horizontal displacements such that multiply reactivated and highly complex shear zones and faults may form. The analysis of these complexities, together with the possibility to constrain the age of strain and deformation localisation, is thus pivotal in reconstructing the onset and evolution of the processes that steer(ed) the crustal extension.

Aiming at better understanding these structural/chronological intricacies, we have studied the brittle Mykonos Detachment (MD), which is thought to have facilitated the emplacement of the Mykonos granite starting in the Middle Miocene (~14-9 Ma) and following the activation of the earlier (ductile) Livada Detachment (LD) that would have favoured the beginning of pluton cooling during the structuring of the Aegean rifting. The Mid. Miocene age of the MD is, however, only loosely constrained by the stratigraphic age of syn-tectonic siliciclastic deposits in the hanging wall of the fault. No absolute ages exist yet on the activation of the brittle MD or the ductile LD, and a detailed description of the internal architecture of the MD is still not available.

Aiming to fill this gap(s), we carried out a detailed study that couples a Brittle Structural Facies – based structural analysis with K-Ar dating on authigenic illite from fault gouge(s) that compose the MD fault core. Fault gouges normally rest on and are cut by the MD principal slip surface (PSS), which reasonably postdates the gouge formation and represents the effects of the latest fault activity. We have obtained a 7.1 ± 0.1 Ma K-Ar age from a fault gouge suggesting that the MD activation postdated the widely accepted ~14-9 Ma of the granite cooling, also considering that the PSS postdates the 7.1 Ma gouge, as indicated by field evidence. On this ground, together with published thermochronological data showing that the granite experienced a rapid cooling from ~14 to ~11 Ma before experiencing slow cooling until ~9 Ma, we can state that most of the granite exhumation cannot be ascribed to the MD, the activation of which postdates the late stage of the granite cooling.

These new geochronological data (which are soon to be implemented with new K-Ar dates) and the description of the architectural evolution of the MD fault zone, stress the role of the detachment during the unroofing of the Mykonos granite in the Aegean rifting context. In this perspective, the granite exhumed is mostly assisted by the ductile LD, which acted before the MD. The latter acted instead only at a later stage when it juxtaposed the Miocene siliciclastic against an already cooled and unroofed granite, which had reached a temperature of ~40°C about 2Ma before the latest Late Miocene activation of the MD, as shown by our preliminary age constraint.

How to cite: Zuccari, C., Mazzarini, F., Tavarnelli, E., Viola, G., Aldega, L., Van der Lelij, R., and Musumeci, G.: Evolution and activation of an orogen-scale shear zone in the northern Aegean Rift System: insights from the Mykonos Detachment, Cyclades, Greece, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-1615, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-1615, 2024.

On-site presentation
Huikai Xu, Youqiang Yu, and Jiaji Xi

Continental rifting is one of the fundamental tectonics of the Earth evolution while our current knowledge on the dynamic mechanism of the strike-slip ones are seriously limited. Here, a systematically shear-wave splitting investigation has been performed in the typical strike-slip Dead Sea rift to illuminate the upper mantle azimuthal anisotropic status across a transform boundary. Totally, 1855 well-defined anisotropic measurements are observed from 102 stations with dominantly N-S fast orientation, which is parallel to the rift strike but deviate from the absolute plate motion direction, mainly result from the plate-driven mantle flow deflected by the thick lithosphere of the eastern Arabian plate. Additionally, the significant fluctuation patterns of splitting times are identified on both the rift-parallel and rift-orthogonal profiles, among which the relatively large splitting times are generally concentrated at the rift zone and attributed to additional coupling lithospheric deformation from the shearing-oriented melt pockets. The consistent rift-parallel fast orientations, combined with the other geoscientific evidences, rule out the role of mantle plume or edge-driven convection in the rift development and further infer the Dead Sea rift to evolve in a passive mode.

How to cite: Xu, H., Yu, Y., and Xi, J.: Upper mantle anisotropy under the strike-slip Dead Sea rift, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-6912, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-6912, 2024.

On-site presentation
Cynthia Ebinger, Miriam Reiss, Ian Bastow, and Mary Karanja

The East African rift overlies one or more mantle upwellings and it traverses heterogeneous Archaean-Paleozoic lithosphere rifted in Mesozoic and Cenozoic time. We re-analyze XKS shear wave splitting at publicly available stations to evaluate models for rifting above mantle plumes. We use consistent criteria to compare and contrast both splitting direction and strength, infilling critical gaps with new data from the Turkana Depression and North Tanzania Divergence sectors of the East African rift system. Our results show large spatial variations in the amount of splitting (0.1–2.5 s) but consistent orientations of the fast axes within rift zones: they are predominantly sub-parallel to the orientation of Cenozoic rifts underlain by thinned lithosphere with and without surface magmatism. The amount of splitting increases with lithospheric thinning and magmatic modification. Nowhere are fast axes perpendicular to the rift, arguing against the development of extensional strain fabrics. Thick cratons are characterized by small amounts of splitting (≤0.5 s) with a variety of orientations that may characterize mantle plume flow. Splitting rotates to rift parallel and increases in strength over short distances into rift zones, implying a shallow depth range for the anisotropy in some places. The shallow source and correlation between splitting direction and the shape of upper mantle thin zones suggests that the combination of channel flow and oriented melt pockets contribute > 1 s to the observed splitting delays. Enhanced flow, metasomatism, and melt intrusion at the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary suggest that fluid infiltration to the base of the lithosphere may facilitate rifting of cratonic lithosphere. 

How to cite: Ebinger, C., Reiss, M., Bastow, I., and Karanja, M.: Shallow sources of upper mantle seismic anisotropy in East Africa , EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-15268, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-15268, 2024.

On-site presentation
Adina E. Pusok, Yuan Li, Richard F. Katz, Tim Davis, and Dave A. May

Geophysical studies along the Main Ethiopian Rift and Eastern Rift in Kenya indicate that strain accommodation is dominated by magmatic intrusion rather than tectonic extension (e.g., Ebinger and Casey, 2001). However, it remains unclear how magmatic extension developed in the Turkana Depression, the low-lying, broadly rifted region separating the Ethiopian and East African plateaus. We investigate the rifting dynamics of the Turkana Depression with two-phase flow numerical models of melt transport through the ductile–brittle lithosphere. These models suggest that the pre-rift rheological structure of the lithosphere exerts a counter-intuitive control on melt extraction, which can explain the character of the Turkana region.

Recent seismic imaging shows that both the Turkana Depression and the uplifted plateaus are underlain by deep-seated, hot, partially-molten, buoyant mantle that ponds below a thinned plate (Kounoudis et al., 2021). Yet, Ogden et al. (2023) estimated the Moho is 10–20 km shallower throughout the Turkana Depression (~20–25 km) than surrounding regions (~35–40 km). Here, we hypothesise that variations in lithospheric strength across the Turkana Depression and the Ethiopian Plateau have influenced magma transport across the lithosphere and rift development (Morley, 1994). 

Our models of melt extraction through the ductile–brittle lithosphere incorporate a new poro-viscoelastic–viscoplastic theory with a free surface (Li et al., 2023), designed and validated as a consistent means to model dykes. We initialise models with a source of partial melt in the asthenosphere and investigate how rheology of the overlying lithosphere impacts melt migration to the surface. Experiments are performed for buoyancy-driven magma transport under no tectonic extension, and for low background tectonic extension rates typical to the Turkana Depression (4 mm/yr; e.g., Knappe et al., 2020). Results indicate that both the rheology of lithosphere and extension rate control the efficiency of magma extraction. Magma transport across a thick, elastic lithosphere is more efficient than across a thin, more ductile lithosphere, and increases with extension. Our results suggest that surface volcanism in the Ethiopian Plateau is more likely to occur compared with the Turkana Depression, and at earlier times. 


Ebinger and Casey (2001), Geology, DOI: 10.1130/0091-7613(2001)029<0527:cbimpa>2.0.co;2

Kounoudis et al. (2021), G-cubed, DOI: 10.1029/2021GC009782

Ogden et al. (2023), EPSL, DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2023.118088

Morley (1994), Tectonophys., DOI: 10.1016/0040- 1951(94)90170-8

Knappe et al. (2020), JGR: Solid Earth, DOI: 10.1029/2019JB018469

Li et al. (2023), GJI, DOI: 10.1093/gji/ggad173

How to cite: Pusok, A. E., Li, Y., Katz, R. F., Davis, T., and May, D. A.: Reduced magmatism in the Turkana Depression: a consequence of inefficient melt transport, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-16081, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-16081, 2024.

On-site presentation
Valentin Rime, Anneleen Foubert, Derek Keir, and Tesfaye Kidane

The Danakil Depression is situated in the northern part of the Afar Depression in Ethiopia and Eritrea and is in an advanced phase of rifting close to continental breakup. It forms the equivalent of a magma-rich margin. As it is currently active and emerged, it offers a unique opportunity to study the processes of formation of these types of passive margins.

We combine seismic reflection data, field data, and remote sensing to constrain the structure and kinematics of this basin. Seismic data reveal the formation of Seaward Dipping Reflectors (SDRs). Surprisingly, field data show that these SDRs are dominated by clastic sediments and only contain relatively minor amount of magmatic material. Paleoshorelines and other proxies allow to quantify uplift and subsidence rates across the basin. These data highlight high spatial variability and allow to better understand the structure and evolution of older, deeply buried passive margins.

How to cite: Rime, V., Foubert, A., Keir, D., and Kidane, T.: Structure and kinematics of the Danakil Depression, Afar, Ethiopia: insights into the formation of a magma-rich margin, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-17395, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-17395, 2024.

On-site presentation
Michal Nemcok and Brian Frost

1D/2D data-based studies of active spreading centres brought the knowledge of extension ratedependent stretching-dominated v. buoyancy-dominated spreading. 3D reflection seismic data from the extinct centre of an initial oceanic corridor in the Caribbean allow us to see an along-strike transition between stretching- and buoyancy-dominated spreading where the spreading through detachment faulting is a precursor to the magma-assisted spreading. Studying progressively more evolved portions of the spreading centre, going from its end towards its centre, we see a progressively higher ascent of the asthenosphere, which heats the developing

core complex in the exhuming footwall of the initial stretching-dominated system. The asthenospheric ascent is associated with thermal weakening of the core complex, which eventually results in ductile deformation reaching the upper portion of the complex. Subsequently, the core complex is penetrated by the dyke located at the top of the asthenospheric body. The dyke, which subsequently evolves to a diapir-shaped body, reaches the sea floor

and establishes a magma-assisted steady-state seafloor spreading. These observations lead to a model explaining the initiation of the magma-assisted spreading in the initial oceanic corridor. Furthermore, they also improve our knowledge of multiple interacting mechanisms involved in the breakup of the last continental lithospheric layer, subsequent disorganized spreading and younger organized spreading.

How to cite: Nemcok, M. and Frost, B.: Along-strike magma-poor/magma-rich spreading transitions, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-11877, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-11877, 2024.

Posters on site: Wed, 17 Apr, 16:15–18:00 | Hall X2

Display time: Wed, 17 Apr 14:00–Wed, 17 Apr 18:00
Chairperson: Frank Zwaan
Global scope
Julia Autin, Roxane Mathey, Harmony Suire, Mélanie Ballay, Marc Ulrich, Gianreto Manatschal, Daniel Sauter, Benoît Petri, Marc Schaming, and Luis Somoza Losada

As two tectonic plates drift away, the earlier movements, prior to oceanic crust formation, are ill-constrained. We are convinced that the kinematic models of plate movements could be significantly enhanced by focusing on the divergence before final lithospheric breakup. During this phase of transition several problems arise. Firstly, the classical interpretations of magnetic anomalies are not trustworthy (debated geometry and/or origin of anomalies). Secondly, the movements are more complex than in oceanic domain (polyphase deformation, obliquity, asymmetry). Those particularities occur especially if plate breakup happens in magma-poor conditions where mantle is exhumed at the surface (in about 50% of instances).

We focus on two pairs of conjugate magma-poor rifted margins: the Bay of Biscay and the Australia-Antarctica margins. In these areas, magnetic anomalies are controversial and seafloor formation started with large domains of hyperextended continental crust and exhumed mantle. Thus, the location and age of the LaLOC (landward limit of the oceanic crust) are uncertain. We aim to better define these domains in space, divergence direction and time through geophysical data and localized petrological observations and dating. This project is in its starting phase, it includes 2 PhD thesis. This presentation focuses on the general framework of the project and the preliminary results.

How to cite: Autin, J., Mathey, R., Suire, H., Ballay, M., Ulrich, M., Manatschal, G., Sauter, D., Petri, B., Schaming, M., and Somoza Losada, L.: The ANR project “FirstMove”: first movements of divergence between future tectonic plates, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-17089, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-17089, 2024.

Yaoyao Zou, Daniele Maestrelli, Giacomo Corti, Chiara Del Ventisette, Liang Wang, Xiaofan Wan, Yanjie Gao, and Chuanbo Shen


Multiple fault populations with different orientations and complex fault patterns can be observed during oblique rifting, conditions which result from a complex rift kinematics which combines dip-slip and strike-slip motion. Although analysis of different natural cases and analog or numerical modeling have shed light on the relations between rift obliquity and the related fault architecture, many aspects of the process remain poorly understood. One of these aspects is related to the existence of pre-existing fabrics in the upper crust, which may further complicate the fault pattern by forcing the development of faults with atypical geometries and orientation.

Here, we performed enhanced-gravity analog models of oblique narrow rifting to characterize the evolution and architecture of rift-related faults developing in a brittle upper crust characterized by inherited fabrics. The models reproduce a rift obliquity of 30° (angle between the rift trend and the orthogonal to the direction of extension), kept constant in all the experiments, and pre-existing vertical fabrics with variable orientation (from 0°, i.e. orthogonal to extension, to 90°, i.e. extension-parallel). Modeling results suggest that inherited fabrics have an important influence on rift-related faulting, with a significant correlation between the intensity of reactivation and their trend with respect to the extension direction. When the pre-existing fabrics trend perpendicular to the extension direction (obliquity 0°), they are strongly reactivated, localizing deformation and promoting the rapid development of faults and grabens perpendicular to the extensional direction. When the pre-existing fabrics trend at moderate obliquity (15°-45°), they are still reactivated and localize deformation causing the development of atypical fault trends and patterns. The degree of reactivation tends to gradually decrease with increasing obliquity; similarly, the influence of pre-existing structures decreases with progressive extension, and the fault pattern and evolution are progressively dominated by extension kinematics and crustal thinning. When the pre-existing fabrics trend at high obliquity (≥ 60°), they have almost no influence on the fault geometry and architecture.

This study has significant implications for explaining the fault geometry and evolution of some natural rift basins worldwide, such as basins of the East African Rift system, the North Sea Rift, and some offshore rift basins in eastern China.

How to cite: Zou, Y., Maestrelli, D., Corti, G., Del Ventisette, C., Wang, L., Wan, X., Gao, Y., and Shen, C.: Interactions between pre-existing fabrics and fault patterns during oblique rifting revealed by enhanced-gravity analog modeling, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-19947, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-19947, 2024.

Pauline Gayrin, Daniele Maestrelli, Giacomo Corti, Sascha Brune, and Chiara Del Ventisette

Continental rifts accommodate shallow extensional stresses both by brittle deformation (normal faulting) and volcanism (i.e. dykes and lava flows). Lava flows, together with clastic sedimentation reshape the topography of the rift floor, forming fresh new layers of rock that cover ancient faults. Therefore, the influence of the inherited buried faults on the development of the new faults and the processes of linkage at depth between them remain difficult to investigate. Here we use analogue brittle-ductile modeling with orthogonal extension to elucidate fault growth and reactivation modes, and then compare the results with data from natural rift systems.

In our models, deformation is produced above an elastic band placed between a fixed and a moving wall controlled by a stepper motor. A  layer of viscous material distributes the deformation within the model. On top of the viscous material we use a  layer of sand mixture to simulate the brittle properties of the upper crust. A first phase of extension develops an entire normal fault network, which is then carefully buried under a variable thickness of sand, simulating a cover of sedimentary or volcanic deposits. A second phase of extension allows us to study the mode of reactivation of the inherited faults.The progress of the deformation is tracked using top view images and digital elevation models interpolated from perspective images. At the very end of the model, cross sections cut at regular intervals show the faults at depth by overlaying coloured brittle layers. The high quality of the images allow us to map and analyze the network semi-automatically. We derive displacement/length profiles to characterize the style of fault growth and propagation mode.

Model results show the development of normal faults creating systems of fault-bounded basins, horst-graben structures and conjugated faults. The setup creates a gradient of deformation from the moving wall, where the faults nucleate first near the fixed wall. We thus observe the coexistence of faults of slightly different ages on the same model, as would occur in nature over time. The cross-section shows an upward propagation and the propagation of faults from depth to surface. The preliminary results indicate different styles of reactivation depending on the stage of fault development: reactivation according to a propagating fault mode where faults still have space at tips to develop and a constant-length fault mode where the network is already fully developed. In addition, we find that the surface overlying the inherited structures first bends, then fractures (without observable vertical displacement), and finally develops from the fracture into a proper fault before it finally propagates to connect laterally within the network. This latter growth mode is consistent with the process observed in Iceland by Braham et al. (2021). Understanding the processes of fault network inheritance holds broader applications to many areas where lava or sediments cover faults, layer after layer, such as magma rich rifts like the Eastern Africa Rift or Iceland.

How to cite: Gayrin, P., Maestrelli, D., Corti, G., Brune, S., and Del Ventisette, C.: Reactivation of inherited faults in rift basins: insight from analogue modeling, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-6401, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-6401, 2024.

Laetitia Le Pourhiet and Fan Zhou

It is common wisdom, based on many years of published simulations of continental rifting followed by spreading that in 2D when a mid-oceanic ridge form in a numerical simulation of continental rifting, extension stops and spreading take over the extension. This is generally due to the complete loss of strength of the mantle lithosphere that cannot transmit forces horizontally across the spreading zone anymore. Actually, in general even the onset of mantle lithosphere necking in a simulation can cause the end of the extension and for many years, I actually claimed very load in the past that two active necking system must be the signature of some obliquity causing 3D extensional conditions. However, recently, a whole series of 2D simulations produced systematically two spreading centers active at the same time. These results surprised me a lot. These simulations were very complex, including a lot of inheritance, the first easy conclusion could have been to say that inheritance causes multiple spreading… But we spent some time and effort to understand if this behavior was due to inheritance or something else. Simplifying our model set-up to the strict minimum, we found it was not inheritance, but a quite cold mantle temperature which permitted a larger shear coupling between the upper mantle dynamics and the mantle lithosphere.  A 50°C difference in mantle temperature radically change the results of the simulation and thanks to our failure, we have found the embryo of an alternative explanation to 3D interactions for the occurrence multiple active necking zones.

How to cite: Le Pourhiet, L. and Zhou, F.: The story of double spreading centers formed during continental rifting in 2D, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-11403, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-11403, 2024.

Thomas Theunissen, Ritske S. Huismans, Delphine Rouby, Sebastian Wolf, and Dave A. May

The magma-poor passive rifted conjugate margins in the Southern Equatorial Atlantic, North Atlantic/Arctic oceans, and Northern Mozambique Channel display en-echelon extensional segments separated by long transform faults (>300 km), influenced by inherited weaknesses. Using advanced 3-D forward geodynamic modeling coupled with surface processes, we investigate the formation of oblique rifts and passive margins. Our focus is on pre-existing weaknesses parallel to the extension direction, exploring the system's sensitivity to various erodibility factors. Key findings include: (1) erodibility within a low to moderate range has limited influence on the morpho-structural evolution of the oblique continental rift, (2) pure-strike slip faults reactivating transform weaknesses result in reduced topography, (3) major catchments sink in the inner corner at the tip of each extensional segments, and (4) hinterland drainage network capture along extensional segments is absent, controlled by isostatic rebound during rift flank drainage divide migration. This study enhances our understanding of the complex interplay between inherited weaknesses, erodibility, and the evolving morphology of oblique rifted margins.

How to cite: Theunissen, T., Huismans, R. S., Rouby, D., Wolf, S., and May, D. A.: Interaction of tectonics and surface process during oblique rifted margin formation. Insights from 3-D forward coupled geodynamic-surface process modelling., EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-20223, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-20223, 2024.

Marta Pérez-Gussinyé, Yangfan Xin, Tiago Cunha, Raghu Ram, Miguel Andres-Martinez, Dongdong Dong, and Javier Garcia-Pintado

The thermal history of margins controls the development of hydrothermal systems during rifting, diagenetic processes in the sediments and the generation and preservation of hydrocarbons. It also affects the depth of the oceanic gateways formed during continental break-up, thereby influencing ocean circulation and ultimately climate (Brune et al., 2023, Pérez-Gussinyé et al., 2023, Peron-Pinvidic et al., 2019). Observed heat-flow values however, do not always comply with classic rifting models. Here, we use 2D numerical models to investigate the relationship between rifting, sedimentation and thermal history of margins. We find that during the synrift, the basement heat flow and temperature are not only controlled by extension factor, but also by synrift sediment thickness and the evolution of deformation. As this progressively focuses oceanward, the proximal sectors thermally relax, while the distal sectors experience peak temperatures. This time lag is important for wide rifted margins. In the postrift, the lithosphere under the hyperextended margins does not return to its original state, at least for ~100 Myrs after breakup. Instead, it mimics that of the adjacent oceanic plate, which is thinner than that of the original continental plate. This results in heat flow values increasing oceanward at postrift stages where classic rifting theory predicts complete thermal relaxation. Our increased heat-flow estimations, may extend hydrocarbon plays into distal margin sectors and adjacent oceanic crust, previously discarded as immature. Finally, our models indicate that commonly used temperature approximations in basin analysis may strongly differ from those occurring in nature (Pérez-Gussinyé et al., 2024).


Brune, S., Kolawole, F., Olive, JA. et al. Geodynamics of continental rift initiation and evolution. Nat Rev Earth Environ 4, 235–253 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43017-023-00391-3

Pérez-Gussinyé, M., Collier, J., Armitage, J., Hopper, J. R., Sun, Z., and Ranero, C. R., Towards a process-based understanding of rifted continental margins, in Nature Reviews Earth and Environment, 2023, doi: 10.1038/s43017-022-00380-y

Marta Pérez-Gussinyé, Yanfang Xin, Tiago Cunha,  Raghu Ram, Miguel Andrés-Martínez, Dongdong Dong, Javier García-Pintado,Synrift and postrift thermal evolution of rifted margins: a re-evaluation of classic models of extension, in press, Geol. Soc Spec. Publ., 2024

Peron-Pinvidic, G., Manatschal, G., eta al. Rifted Margins: State of the Art and Future Challenges, Front. Earth Sci., 22 August 2019, Sec. Structural Geology and Tectonics, Volume 7 - 2, https://doi.org/10.3389/feart.2019.00218.

How to cite: Pérez-Gussinyé, M., Xin, Y., Cunha, T., Ram, R., Andres-Martinez, M., Dong, D., and Garcia-Pintado, J.: Synrift and postrift thermal evolution of margins: a re-evaluation of classic models of rifting, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-19853, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-19853, 2024.

Jun Liu, Matthias Rosenau, Ehsan Kosari, Sascha Brune, Frank Zwaan, and Onno Oncken

It is well known that triaxial deformation is a common feature of continental tectonics, and is accommodated by complex polymodal fault networks. Field investigations confirm that multiple phases involving time-dependent three-dimensional strain conditions (e.g. constriction, plane, and flattening strain) affect the spatial and temporal interaction of polymodal fault systems. However, a key question remains: How do changing strain conditions affect the reactivation of fault systems that formed during a previous deformation phase? Here, we conduct scaled analogue models with time-dependent boundary conditions to investigate how fault networks evolve under changing boundary conditions, including  reactivation and formation of new faults.

We have developed a setup in which a basal rubber sheet is stretched in one direction, so that longitudinal extension and layer thinning are accompanied by lateral shortening, hence producing triaxial deformation (Liu et al. in revision). According to previous brittle-viscous experiments with this set-up, an increase in longitudinal extension velocity results in a higher coupling between the rubber base and brittle layer, generating increasing transmission of lateral shortening from the base into the brittle layer. We thus induce constriction-to-plane strain conditions in the brittle layer as a function of longitudinal extension velocity by varying the magnitude of lateral contraction. In a new set of experiments, by varying extension velocity either stepwise or continuously, we realize time-dependent kinematic boundary conditions including deformation phases and secular changes, respectively. Digital image correlation (DIC) and photogrammetry (structure from motion, SFM) are employed to track the 3D kinematic surface and topography evolution, respectively.

Preliminary observations show both the formation of new faults and the reactivation of early phase faults through a change from plane to constriction strain. Conversely, a change from constriction to plane strain conditions results in the abandonment of the early phase fault network as it becomes overprinted by fault systems of the subsequent phase. Moreover, early-phase fault systems influence the propagation and linkage of fault populations in subsequent phases. Our analogue models highlight the impact of strain conditions on the overall plan-view geometry of fault populations, providing alternative explanations for complex fault patterns and interactions (e.g. the Jeanne d’Arc basin, the North Træna Basin, and the Beagle Platform).

How to cite: Liu, J., Rosenau, M., Kosari, E., Brune, S., Zwaan, F., and Oncken, O.: The evolution of fault networks during multiphase deformation: An analogue modeling approach, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-15107, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-15107, 2024.

Geoffroy Mohn, Jean-Claude Ringenbach, Etienne Legeay, Julie Tugend, William Vetel, and François Sapin

Marginal Seas are extensional basins formed in a convergent setting near active subduction zones. They are characterized by a short life (<25 Ma), as well as unstable and changing directions of seafloor spreading. However, the processes related to their formation from rifting to seafloor spreading initiation remain debated (supra-subduction convection/extension, slab-pull). This problem is further compounded by the fact that our understanding of continental breakup used to be derived from the evolution of magma-poor and magma-rich Continent-Ocean Transitions (COT) of Atlantic margins.

Here, we describe and discuss the rifting style and the mode of continental breakup of three main Marginal Seas located in the Western Pacific, namely the South China Sea, the Coral Sea and the Woodlark Basin. All three examples formed under rapid extension rates and propagation of seafloor spreading.

In these three examples, continental extension is accommodated by a succession of hyper-extended basins controlled by low-angle normal faults that may form and be active at 30° (or less). These hyper-extended basins are filled by polyphase syn-rift sequences showing atypical geometries. These complex stratigraphic architectures result from the development of the low-angle normal faults interacting with antithetic faults, controlling the formation of extensional fishtails for example. The formation of such low-angle normal fault systems is enhanced by basement inheritance of the previous orogenic system.

Continental breakup and final extension are contemporaneous with an important magmatic activity emplaced in the distalmost part of these margins including volcanoes, dykes and sills. Continent-Ocean transitions (COTs) are characterized by a sharp juxtaposition of the continental crust against igneous oceanic crust suggesting that a rapid shift from rifting to spreading occurred. High extension rate prevents conductive cooling allowing the focusing of volcanic activity in sharp COTs, quickly evolving to magmatic accretion.

In conclusion, the rifting style and mode continental breakup are most likely associated with initial rheological conditions with hot geotherm combined with fast extensions rates likely directed by kinematic boundary conditions directly or indirectly controlled by nearby subduction zones.

How to cite: Mohn, G., Ringenbach, J.-C., Legeay, E., Tugend, J., Vetel, W., and Sapin, F.: Rifting style and continental breakup of Marginal Seas, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-11854, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-11854, 2024.

Malte Froemchen, Ken McCaffrey, Tom Phillips, Mark Allen, and Jeroen van Hunen

The evolution of continental rifts is influenced by the pre-rift rheology of the lithosphere and discrete lithospheric structures that segment the rift. The Great South Basin, offshore New Zealand, is a Cretaceous rift system that formed across heterogenous basement terranes which influence the rift architecture. Faults locally rotate or splay and segment along these terrane boundaries. While the impact of terrane boundaries on rift architecture is well understood, the temporal evolution of these rotated faults is poorly constrained. Here we use 3D reflection seismic data to investigate the timing and slip rate evolution of the rotated and segmented faults along two terrane boundaries. Our results show that these have a significant but variable impact on rift evolution and architecture: Faults in the Murihiku terrane show asymmetric throw-length profiles and are rotated along the terrane boundary to the Dun Mountain-Maitai terrane, as they detach into shallow crustal fabrics. Faults in the DMM terrane show less evidence of rotation and more symmetric throw-length profiles but are segmented along the DMM and Caples terrane boundary. The curving faults of the Murihiku terrane likely formed early on but remained as isolated segments only linking up during later stages of rifting when other faults became inactive. These results show the influence of the terrane boundaries was not only active early during initial segmentation but also during the linkage of curved fault segments in the later stages of rifting. These results may help understand the temporal evolution of lithospheric and crustal inheritance on rift evolution in other regions around the world like East Africa or North China.  

How to cite: Froemchen, M., McCaffrey, K., Phillips, T., Allen, M., and van Hunen, J.: A tale of two terrane boundaries – variable impact of terrane boundaries on rift geometry in the Great South Basin, New Zealand, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-7884, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-7884, 2024.

Polar rifts
Martina Busetti, Alberto Pastorutti, Magdala Tesauro, Carla Braitenberg, Florence Colleoni, and Laura De Santis

The basins composing the 1000-km wide West Antarctica Rift System (WARS), derived from extensional dynamics lasting from the Cretaceous to the Middle Neogene, bear evidence of a peculiar evolution through time: a transition from a diffuse to a localized thinning style and a migration of the focus of deformation, which likely progressed towards the cratonic domains of West Antarctica. Using the current observations, we aim at identifying which inherited starting conditions [1] result in outcomes compatible with the present-time structures and which do not allow so, unless other factors are accounted for.

To this aim, we turn to an extensive grid search in the parameter space, running a large number of forward numerical models to cover the possible permutations of parameters under test. We use the open source Underworld2 code [2] with a simplified scheme of starting conditions and kinematics boundaries, for lithospheric-scale 2-D thermomechanical models. We analyse the results obtained by changing a great number of parameters, including initial geometries of the crust and lithosphere, different rheologies, inherited structures, such as strain-weakening scars and thermal remnants of slabs.

We identify that a high crustal thickness (more than 45 km) is required to accommodate the first rifting phase (170 km ca. of cumulated extension, [3]) without producing crustal necking and eventual ocean formation. Parameters that favour a weaker strength profile, chiefly temperature (due to a thicker crust and/or a shallow lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary), are also required to avoid an early transition to localized deformation, in agreement with previous studies [4]. Smaller scale features, such as partition in multiple sub-basins, require additional factors, such as inherited weak-zone seeds (“scars”) in the crust and mantle, which are likely remnants of previous compressive phases [5].

[1] Perron, P., Le Pourhiet, L., Guiraud, M., Vennin, E., Moretti, I., Portier, É., & Konaté, M. (2021). Control of inherited accreted lithospheric heterogeneity on the architecture and the low, long-term subsidence rate of intracratonic basins. BSGF - Earth Sciences Bulletin, 192. https://doi.org/10.1051/bsgf/2020038

[2] Mansour, J., Giordani, J., Moresi, L., Beucher, R., Kaluza, O., Velic, M., Farrington, R., Quenette, S., & Beall, A. (2020). Underworld2: Python Geodynamics Modelling for Desktop, HPC and Cloud. Journal of Open Source Software, 5(47), 1797. https://doi.org/10.21105/joss.01797

[3] Brancolini, G., Busetti, M., Coren, F., De Cillia, C., Marchetti, M., De Santis, L., Zanolla, C., Cooper, A.K., Cochrane, G.R., Zayatz, I., Belyaev, V., Knyazev, M., Vinnikovskaya, O., Davey, F.J., Hinz, K., 1995. ANTOSTRAT Project, seismic stratigraphic atlas of the Ross Sea, Antarctica. In: Cooper, A.K., Barker, P.F., Brancolini, G., (Eds.), Geology and Seismic Stratigraphy of the Antarctic Margin. Antarctic Research Series, vol. 68, https://doi.org/10.1029/AR068

[4] Huerta, A. D., & Harry, D. L. (2007). The transition from diffuse to focused extension: Modeled evolution of the West Antarctic Rift system. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 255(1–2), 133–147. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2006.12.011

[5] Talarico, F., Ghezzo, C., & Kleinschmidt, G. (2022). The Antarctic Continent in Gondwana: a perspective from the Ross Embayment and Potential Research Targets for Future Investigations. In Antarctic Climate Evolution (pp. 219–296). Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-819109-5.00004-9

How to cite: Busetti, M., Pastorutti, A., Tesauro, M., Braitenberg, C., Colleoni, F., and De Santis, L.: The Ross Sea formation: enquiring the sensitivity of basin architecture to prior conditions, with numerical models and a parameter search, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-20850, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-20850, 2024.

Young-Gyun Kim, Jong Kuk Hong, Young Keun Jin, and Byung Dal So

The Amerasia Basin, one of two major basins that comprise the Arctic Ocean, is thought to have a more complex formation history than its counterpart, the Eurasian Basin. Because the harsh conditions for marine expeditions last the entire year, there is a lack of observational data for constraining the tectonic history of the Chukchi Basin. Thus, there are multiple existing hypotheses for its tectonic history, with contrasting formation ages ranging from Mesozoic to Cenozoic and crustal types ranging from hyper-extended continental crust to oceanic crust. Recently, during the 2018 and 2021 Arctic expeditions of the Korean ice-breaking research vessel Araon, we obtained the new marine heat flow data along the east-west and northeast-southwest transect lines from the abyssal plain to the continental slope/shelf of the basin. These data may play an important role in constraining the formation age of the basin, as the extending axis among the hypotheses is likely oriented from north-south. Assuming an oceanic crust, the formation age can be inferred to be Late Cretaceous. This information concerning the formation age enhances our understanding of the underestimated complex tectonic history of the Amerasia Basin, because such inferred timing aligns with the formation age of the adjacent Chukchi Borderland.

How to cite: Kim, Y.-G., Hong, J. K., Jin, Y. K., and So, B. D.: Constraints on the Formation Age of the Chukchi Basin, Arctic Ocean, inferred from Marine Heat Flow Measurements, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-1239, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-1239, 2024.

East African Rift
Wei Wang, Satish Singh, Zhikai Wang, Aiguo Ruan, Yong Tang, Jérôme Dyment, Sylvie Leroy, Louise Watremez, Zhaocai Wu, He Li, and Chongzhi Dong

During the Jurassic period, the Gondwana Continent progressively rifted from north to south along three huge transform faults (Davie Fracture Zone (DFZ), Mozambique Fracture Zone (MFZ) and Agulhas-Falkland Fracture Zone (AFFZ)), forming the northern, central and southern continental margins along Mozambique, producing a series of divergent and strike-slip margins. These margins are crucial areas for understanding the evolution of Gondwana as their crustal nature and geometry have strongly impacted the kinematic reconstruction of Gondwana. Especially, the debate about continental or oceanic crust for the Mozambique Coastal Plain (MCP) and North Natal Valley (NNV) at the southern Mozambique margin led to tens of kinematic reconstruction models of Gondwana. Based on the OBS and MCS data results of PAMELA MOZ3/5 Cruises, MCP and NNV were identified as continental crust. This has led the scientific community to reconsider the issue, for example, the opening time of the oceanic basin, the movement direction of rifting, and the intense magmatism during the rifting and break-up of Gondwana.

In June 2021, the Second China-Mozambique Joint Cruise was conducted onboard the R/V “Dayang hao”. Three wide-angle seismic OBS profiles were acquired where 70 four-component OBSs were deployed along profiles DZ02 and DZ04 oriented nearly W-E and DZ01 oriented nearly N-S. Four Bolt air guns with a total volume of 8000 in3 in total were towed at ~100 m behind the R/V “Dayang hao” at ~10 m below the sea surface. The shot interval was 200 m.

Here, we present the tomographic results of P-wave velocity along 442 km long profile DZ02, where 21 OBSs were deployed. It traverses through the Continent Ocean Transition (COT) and extends into the Mozambique ocean basin. Approximately 19,000 P-wave arrivals were manually picked, using the travel-time tomography inversion to get the velocity model. The tomographic result shows an apparent decrease in crust thickness from COT to the ocean basin, and the thickness of the oceanic crust is about 8 km. We also observe high-velocity anomalies up to 7.4 km/s in the lower crust above Moho, suggestive of more primitive melt. We will also present the S-wave velocity model for DZ02.  

How to cite: Wang, W., Singh, S., Wang, Z., Ruan, A., Tang, Y., Dyment, J., Leroy, S., Watremez, L., Wu, Z., Li, H., and Dong, C.: Crustal Structure of Continental Margin and Oceanic Basin at the Southern Mozambique Margin, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-13269, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-13269, 2024.

Louis Gaudaré, Cécile Doubre, Marc Jolivet, Olivier Dauteuil, Samuel Corgne, Raphaël Grandin, Marie-Pierre Doin, and Philippe Durand

Located at the southwestern terminus of the East African Rift System, the Okavango Rift System represents an opportunity to study the propagation of an active rift at its early stages (Gaudaré et al., in review). The Okavango Graben (northern Botswana) is an active half-graben of the Okavango Rift System, which shows normal to dextral strike-slip tectonic displacements of the order of 1 mm per year (Pastier et al., 2017). In addition to the impact of tectonics, large volumes of water (~10 km3 per year) brought in by the annual flood of the Okavango River generate seasonal subsidence of over 2 cm in the graben (Dauteuil et al., 2023). The prevalence of the hydrologic signal over the tectonic signal makes it challenging to provide clear interpretations of the Rift dynamics within the Okavango Graben. The previous studies are based on a network of GNSS stations, providing punctual data on displacements. To quantify the deformation field over the Okavango Graben, we analyze interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data produced by the ForM@Ter LArge-scale multi-Temporal Sentinel-1 InterferoMetry service (FLATSIM, Thollard et al., 2021). FLATSIM automatically computes interferograms from Sentinel-1 synthetic aperture radar data and inverts them into displacement time series. The products span from April 2016 to April 2021 with a temporal resolution of 12 days, a spatial resolution of 115 x 115 m and cover the entire Okavango Rift System. We analyze and compare the seasonality of both the interferometric coherences and the InSAR displacement time series. Change detection in the interferometric coherence allows us to delineate flooded surfaces through time in the Okavango Graben, from which we deduce water loadings on the lithosphere and model the corresponding flexural response of the lithosphere. We then compare this response to the spatial distribution of annual vertical oscillations extracted from the displacement time series. Taking these seasonal signals into account, our objective is to estimate the rates of the tectonic subsidence in the Okavango Graben to better constrain the propagation of the East African Rift System at its southwestern end.

Dauteuil, O., Jolivet, M., Gaudaré, L., & Pastier, A.-M. (2023). Rainfall-induced ground deformation in southern Africa. Terra Nova, 00, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1111/ter.12650

Gaudaré, L., Dauteuil, O., & Jolivet, M. Geomorphology of the Makgadikgadi Basin (Botswana): insight into the propagation of the East African Rift System. Tectonics, in review.

Pastier, A.-M., Dauteuil, O., Murray-Hudson, M., Moreau, F., Walpersdorf, A., & Makati, K. (2017). Is the Okavango Delta the terminus of the East African Rift System? Towards a new geodynamic model: Geodetic study and geophysical review. Tectonophysics 712–713, 469–481. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2017.05.035

Thollard, F., Clesse, D., Doin, M.-P., Donadieu, J., Durand, P., Grandin, R., Lasserre, C., Laurent, C., Deschamps-Ostanciaux, E., Pathier, E., Pointal, E., Proy, C., & Specht, B. (2021). FLATSIM: The ForM@Ter LArge-Scale Multi-Temporal Sentinel-1 InterferoMetry Service. Remote Sensing, 13(18), 3734. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13183734

How to cite: Gaudaré, L., Doubre, C., Jolivet, M., Dauteuil, O., Corgne, S., Grandin, R., Doin, M.-P., and Durand, P.: Unraveling Tectonic From Hydrological Subsidence Of The Okavango Graben (Botswana) Using FLATSIM InSAR Data., EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-20218, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-20218, 2024.

Yafet Gebrewold Birhane, Raphael Pik, Nicolas Bellahsen, Irene Schimmelpfennig, Lydéric France, Jessica Flahaut, Dereje Ayalew, and Gezahegn Yirgu

The Afar depression at the northern end of the East African Rift system is presently experiencing the final stage of continental break-up and progressive onset of steady magmatic spreading. The Magmatic Rift Segments in Afar broadly analogous to those observed within the mid oceanic ridges, offer the opportunity to study both mantle and crustal processes. Investigating the crustal architecture of those magmatic segments represents a key aspect to decipher fundamental parameters that control focussing of magmatic and tectonic activity during the generation of magmatic crust. Here, we present the typical organization of a 32 km long subsegment of the Manda Hararo magmatic rift system, with fissural activities symmetrical to an apparent mid segment magmatic reservoir and establish geochronology of the last eruptive history. We combine field investigations, precise mapping of volcanological and tectonic features, cosmogenic 36Cl exposure dating and geochemical analysis of lavas to constrain the temporal frame and the dynamics of magmatic processes. Our results show that the recent historical volcanic events (~ 500 to 2000 years) are sourced from calderas and fissures representing an alternating sequence of effusive and explosive (block fields) activities related to a coherent rifting episode along a single self-consistent magmatic sub-segment. Those recent fissural flows resurfaced a large portion of the segment and emplaced on older thick pahoehoe flows with a rather long lag-time of about 75 kyr separating the two episodes. Strongly contrasted geochemical signatures are also observed between those two volcanic episodes, with more differentiated and trace elements enriched basalts for the recent one, compared to the older one which are characterized by a unusual depleted signature. These new results for the Central Afar Manda Hararo rift have important implications for: (i) the local hazards along the segments, and (ii) the volcano-tectonic organization of the segment with coexistence of contrasted melt reservoirs on the underlying transcrustal plumbing system.

How to cite: Birhane, Y. G., Pik, R., Bellahsen, N., Schimmelpfennig, I., France, L., Flahaut, J., Ayalew, D., and Yirgu, G.:  The Last Fissural Eruptions of the Manda Hararo Magmatic Segment, Central Afar (Ethiopia), Constrained from New cosmogenic Ages, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-20162, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-20162, 2024.

An active detachment fault ahead the Aden propagating oceanic rift in Afar: consequences on breaking-up processes
Laurent Geoffroy, Le Gall Bernard, Chauvet François, Daoud Mohamed, Jalludin Mohamed, Jaud Marion, and Caminiti Antoine
Jie Chen, Sylvie Leroy, Louise Watremez, and Adam Robinson

Continental rifting is the Earth’s fundamental tectonic process that may result in a new plate boundary, i.e., mid-ocean ridges, with the accretion of new oceanic crust. At present, continental rifted margins are classified into two end-members based on the amount of magmatism that occurred during the rifting process: magma-rich and magma-poor. However, various factors influence the formation of these margins, such as the inheritance of segmentation, extension obliquity, syn-rift magmatism, and sedimentation. The Gulf of Aden represents a good example for understanding such spatial variations in the formation of rifted margins. It consists of an oblique rifting system, with young and segmented margins (34-17.6 Ma) and thin sediments. In addition, the Gulf of Aden exhibits magma-rich margins in the west, related to the Afar hotpot, and magma-poor margins in the east, with a possible zone of exhumed continental mantle.

In this study, we develop a 3-D P-wave velocity model across the north-eastern Gulf of Aden continental margin, using wide-angle seismic refraction data from a combined onshore-offshore survey with 35 ocean-bottom seismometers and 13 land seismometers. Approximately 187,000 P-wave first arrivals were picked and inverted in 3-D, with the modelling informed by constraints from previously published 2-D velocity models. Here, we present our preliminary tomographic results that illustrate the spatial variations in the crustal velocity structure of the continent, continent-to-ocean transition (COT), and oceanic domains, as well as the comparison between our 3-D and the published 2-D velocity structures of the north-eastern Gulf of Aden continental margin.

How to cite: Chen, J., Leroy, S., Watremez, L., and Robinson, A.: Three-dimensional crustal velocity structure of the north-eastern Gulf of Aden continental margin, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-3979, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-3979, 2024.

Atlantic margins
Amber Distelbrink, Grace E. Shephard, Jean-Baptiste P. Koehl, Steffen G. Bergh, and Anouk Beniest

Constraining the evolution of the opening of the northernmost region of the Northeast Atlantic Ocean is of particular importance for understanding the diversity of ocean basin opening dynamics, including the development of oblique margins and shear zones. Accurately determining the timing and kinematics of the motion along the Senja Shear Zone and opening of the Fram Strait is of particular importance for climate research as this region forms the only deep-water gateway between the Northeast Atlantic Ocean and Arctic Ocean. This study combines new and legacy data and presents an analysis of the tectonic evolution of the northern Norwegian passive margin over the past 200 Ma, including integrating structural field observations and plate tectonics models.

Fieldwork took place on the islands of Senja and Kvaløya in Troms County of northern Norway. The field observations reveal four dominant brittle fault groups corresponding to four normal-oblique extension directions: E-W, NNW-SSE, NW-SE, NE-SW. In the Senja Shear Zone, the strike-slip faults are predominantly oriented NNW-SSE to NW-SE. Analysis of existing plate motion models for the region for 200 Ma to present day includes three prominent extension phases in chronological order: E-W, NNW-SSE, and NW-SE.

This study suggests that during the E-W oriented crustal thinning phase, normal faulting and minor strike-slip faulting dominated and gave way to basement-seated strike-slip faults during the NNW-SSE oriented extension phase. The presence of mid-upper crust faulting is argued by fault mineral striation assemblages and hydrothermal alteration. In the NW-SE oriented extensional phase, both normal faults and strike-slip faults were active. Comparisons to existing rigid plate tectonic models for the region suggest a revised deformable plate framework is required, and offers insights into the original thickness of the North-American and European plates and the role of mid-crustal tectonics in the breakup. The role of inheritance, including earlier shear zones and extensional phases will also be discussed. In addition, the present research encourages scientists to digitize analogue maps and data, preventing loss of knowledge during the analogue to digital transition.

How to cite: Distelbrink, A., Shephard, G. E., Koehl, J.-B. P., Bergh, S. G., and Beniest, A.: Insights into the tectonic evolution of the northern Norwegian passive margin: Integrating field observations and plate modeling over 200 million years., EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-16240, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-16240, 2024.

Ibrahim Yusuf, Stephen M Jones, Tim Reston, Thomas Funck, Brian M O'Reilly, and John R Hopper

The Porcupine Basin, situated in the North Atlantic, serves as a unique natural laboratory for investigating the temporal evolution of magma-poor rifts. Notably, the basin exhibits a progressive increase in the total degree of stretching from north to south, offering a valuable opportunity to interpret its structure in terms of the temporal evolution of magma-poor rifted margins. This study, as part of the broader PORO-CLIM project, focuses on Profile 2 to construct a whole-crustal seismic velocity model and integrate it with existing data to unravel the complete rifting history of the Porcupine Basin.

In the northern region, Reston et al. (2004) identified a detachment fault, the P-reflector, indicating substantial rifting  [1]. Recent analyses by Prada et al. (2017) extended this understanding to the central basin, revealing progressive crustal thinning and mantle serpentinization [2]. However, the southern sector remains largely unexplored. This project aims to capitalise on newly acquired Ocean Bottom Seismometer (OBS) data from PORO-CLIM Profile 2 to image the deep crustal structure and complement this with basement mapping of the southern Porcupine Basin using industry 2D seismic data.

Seismic refraction data from 20 OBS along a 226 km transect form the basis for constructing a comprehensive crustal velocity model. Utilising the RAYINV modelling package, a layer-by-layer forward modelling approach is employed to correlate calculated and observed travel times. Concurrently, structural mapping using long-offset 2D seismic reflection data assists in delineating major faults and regions of mantle unroofing, contributing to the understanding of the Porcupine Basin's subsurface. Preliminary findings reveal extreme crustal thinning and asymmetry, highlighting north-to-south crustal thinning and the emergence of the P-reflector in the southern region of the Porcupine Basin.

[1] Reston, T.J., Gaw, V., Pennell, J., Klaeschen, D., Stubenrauch, A. and Walker, I. (2004). Extreme crustal thinning in the south Porcupine Basin and the nature of the Porcupine Median High: implications for the formation of non-volcanic rifted margins. Journal of the Geological Society, [online] 161, pp.783–798.

[2] Prada, M., Watremez, L., Chen, C., O’Reilly, B.M., Minshull, T.A., Reston, T.J., Shannon, P.M., Klaeschen, D., Wagner, G. and Gaw, V. (2017). Crustal strain dependent serpentinisation in the Porcupine Basin, offshore Ireland. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, [online] 474, pp.148–159.

How to cite: Yusuf, I., M Jones, S., Reston, T., Funck, T., M O'Reilly, B., and R Hopper, J.: Structure and Dynamics of the Porcupine Magma-Poor Continental Margin from new Ocean Bottom Seismometer Data, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-12130, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-12130, 2024.

Silvia Foiada, Marta Neres, Pedro Brito, Laura Gomez de la Peña, Irene Merino, and César Ranero

The FRAME geophysical cruise, conducted in 2018 onboard the Spanish R/V Sarmiento de Gamboa, acquired new multichannel seismic reflection (MCS) data on the SW Iberia and NW Moroccan margins. MCS data were acquired with a 6 km long solid-state digital streamer Sercel SENTINEL towed at 19 m water depth, and a 3920 c.i. source with two sub-arrays with 20 guns towed at 10 m depth. The system was designed to provide high penetration and map the entire crust and the upper mantle structure and retain enough resolution to image well the stratigraphy.

In this work we present a 220 km long seismic line acquired on the NW Moroccan margin, from the shallow continental shelf across the continental slope and extending across the deep abyssal plain of the Gulf of Cadiz. The NW Africa margin was selected because the region was the focus of several geophysical campaigns, and several DSDP drill sites that drilled into the synrift strata.  However, limited modern data has imaged the crustal-scale tectonic structure to unravel the late Triassic - early Jurassic rift history of the region.

We applied a seismic processing flow tailored to the attenuation of the multiple energy, signal designature and for the creation of a detailed macro-velocity model to image the lateral changes of the synrift tectonic structure and stratigraphy. The high-quality image of the structure of this rifted margin reveals a complex tectonic structure from the shelf to the deep-water basin where a deep basement containing salt bodies across the entire profile extension. These new results are of high importance for the understanding of the rifting and continent-ocean transition (COT) processes on the northern Central Atlantic and Neothetys domains, as well as for the subsequent compressive deformation processes in the Gulf of Cadiz related to the Africa-Eurasia plate collision.

This work was funded by the Portuguese Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) I.P./MCTES through national funds through the project LISA (https://doi.org/10.54499/PTDC/CTA-GEF/1666/2020).

How to cite: Foiada, S., Neres, M., Brito, P., Gomez de la Peña, L., Merino, I., and Ranero, C.: The seismic structure of the NW Moroccan margin, Gulf of Cadiz, from new high-quality multichannel seismic reflection data, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-11494, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-11494, 2024.

Julie Tugend, Geoffroy Mohn, Nick Kusznir, Sverre Planke, Christian Berndt, Ben Manton, Dmitrii Zastrozhnov, and John, M. Millet

The Mid-Norwegian volcanic rifted margin and its NE-Greenland conjugate formed in relation to continental breakup in the latest Palaeocene to earliest Eocene during the emplacement of the North Atlantic Igneous Province (NAIP). The development of the NAIP and opening of the North Atlantic occurred contemporaneous to the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) which corresponded to a rapid 5-6 °C global warming episode.

The cause of this rapid global warming, explored as part of IODP Expedition 396, is thought to relate to the thermogenic gases released to the atmosphere via thousands of hydrothermal vents. The thermogenic gases were produced by contact metamorphism of carbon-rich sediments during widespread sill emplacement from the NAIP. The potential of hydrothermally-released greenhouse gases to influence climate depends strongly on the water depth at which they get released. Unless it is released in a shallow marine environment most methane will be oxidized before it reaches the atmosphere.

Early results from IODP Expedition 396 have documented that at least one of the Mid-Norwegian hydrothermal vents was emplaced in shallow marine to potentially sub-aerial conditions. The aim of this contribution is to constrain further the paleo-water depth at which hydrothermal vents formed along the other parts of the mid-Norwegian volcanic rifted margin. This study focuses on an integrated workflow of quantitative geophysical and geodynamic analyses calibrated by new IODP drilling results and structural and stratigraphic observations. We use a 3D flexural-backstripping, decompaction and reverse thermal subsidence modelling to predict the palaeobathymetry and palaeostructure at keys stages of the syn- to post-breakup evolution that can be compared with palaeo-water depths estimated from biostratigraphic data.

Results provide new constraints on the paleobathymetry of hydrothermal vent complexes required to confirm whether the global warming recorded by the PETM was triggered by the magma-rich continental breakup leading to the opening of the northeast Atlantic Ocean. 

How to cite: Tugend, J., Mohn, G., Kusznir, N., Planke, S., Berndt, C., Manton, B., Zastrozhnov, D., and Millet, J. M.: Palaeobathymetry of the Mid-Norwegian volcanic margin during continental breakup and paleoclimate implications, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-11873, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-11873, 2024.

Tim Minshull, Gaye Bayrakci, and Steven Constable

During the final stages of breakup at magma-poor rifted margins, mantle rocks are commonly exhumed and altered to serpentinite due to the ingress of ocean water. This mantle exhumation phase is followed by an increase in magmatism as new oceanic crust begins to form. However, the degree to which serpentinisation is focused at faults and whether the onset of magmatism is abrupt or gradual are both unclear. These processes are difficult to untangle with seismic data alone because the P wave velocities of mafic crustal rocks and partially serpentinised mantle rocks can be similar. However, serpentinised mantle rocks are generally more conductive, often by about an order of magnitude, than mafic crustal rocks, so controlled source electromagnetic (CSEM) and magnetotelluric (MT) techniques provide a promising route to resolve controversies around the structure of lithosphere formed during the onset of seafloor spreading.

To take advantage of the complementary information provided by seismic and electromagnetic data, in September 2023 we acquired a coincident and densely sampled wide-angle seismic, CSEM and MT datasets across the continent-ocean transition at Goban Spur, southwest of the UK. Our c. 200-km profile is coincident with a pre-existing high-quality seismic reflection profile. It extends from thinned continental crust, whose nature is confirmed by drilling, across a broad zone that is inferred on the basis of a previous wide-angle seismic experiment to be composed of exhumed and serpentinised mantle, and into oceanic crust, evidenced by the presence of the prominent seafloor-spreading magnetic anomaly A34. Along this profile, we deployed 49 seafloor instruments at c. 4-km spacing that were each capable of recording seismic, electric field and magnetometer data, plus an additional two instruments recording the inline electric field on 200-m dipoles. These instruments were on the seafloor for about two weeks. During this time we acquired two wide-angle seismic profiles: one using a 5200 cu. in. airgun array shot at 90-s intervals and a second using a 3900 cu. in. airgun array shot at 30-s intervals. We also acquired a frequency-domain  CSEM profile using a transmitter towed c. 100 m above the seabed that powered a 300-m electric dipole with a c. 100-A current at a fundamental frequency of 0.25 Hz. Preliminary data analysis showed that seismic signals were recorded to c. 90 km offset and CSEM signals to c. 8 km offset, while high-quality MT data were recorded at periods of 20-10000 s.

Thus we expect to recover coincident high-resolution images of the seismic velocity and resistivity structure of the upper few km of the basement, sufficient to image patterns of serpentinisation and mafic intrusion. We also expect to recover lower-resolution images of the resistivity to tens of km below the seabed and thus to distinguish continental mantle lithosphere from depleted oceanic lithosphere. We will present examples of the data acquired and the results of some preliminary analysis.    

How to cite: Minshull, T., Bayrakci, G., and Constable, S.: An integrated seismic, controlled source electromagnetic and magnetotelluric study of the continent-ocean transition southwest of the UK, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-6227, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-6227, 2024.

Alexandra Tamas, Robert E. Holdsworth, Dan M. Tamas, Edward D. Dempsey, Kit Hardman, Anna Bird, John R. Underhill, Dave McCarthy, Ken J.W. McCaffrey, and David Selby

Constraining the age of formation and movement along fault arrays in superimposed basins helps us to better unravel their kinematic history as well as the role of bounding faults or inherited structures in basin evolution. The Inner Moray Firth Basin (IMFB, western North Sea) comprises a series of superimposed basins overlying rocks of the Caledonian basement, the pre-existing Devonian-Carboniferous Orcadian Basin and a regionally developed Permo-Triassic North Sea basin system. The IMFB rifting occurred mainly in the Upper Jurassic – Lower Cretaceous after a long period of subsidence followed by localised uplift in its eastern parts due to thermal doming in the central North Sea (in the middle Jurassic). The rift basin later experienced further episodes of regional tilting, uplift and fault reactivation during Cenozoic.

New detailed field observations augmented by drone photography and creation of 3D digital outcrops, coupled with U-Pb geochronology of syn-faulting calcite-mineralised veins are used to constrain the absolute timing of fault movements and decipher the kinematic history of basin opening. It also helps to identify those deformation structures associated with earlier basin-forming events.

Five regional deformation events emerge: Devonian rifting associated with the older Orcadian Basin; Late Carboniferous inversion related to dextral Great Glen fault movements; Permian thermal subsidence with some evidence of minor fracturing; Late Jurassic – Early Cretaceous rifting and Cenozoic reactivation and local inversion. We were also able to isolate characteristic structures, fault kinematics, fault rock developments and associated mineralisation types related to many of these events.

How to cite: Tamas, A., Holdsworth, R. E., Tamas, D. M., Dempsey, E. D., Hardman, K., Bird, A., Underhill, J. R., McCarthy, D., McCaffrey, K. J. W., and Selby, D.: Using U-Pb geochronology of syn-faulting calcite-mineralised veins to track the evolution of superimposed rifting events: the Inner Moray Firth Basin., EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-17937, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-17937, 2024.

Gwenn Peron-Pinvidic

Lithospheric extension leads to rift formation and may continue to the point of breakup, with oceanic ridge initiation and the formation of two conjugate rifted margins. In some settings, extension can cease, and the rift may be abandoned. These so-called failed rifts archive snapshots of early phases of deformation, with geometries that may help better constrain the parameters that can prevent a rift from reaching breakup, such as lithospheric rheology, thermal state, rift opening direction and rate, inheritance.

This contribution summarizes a study of the Norwegian Continental Shelf which includes the North Sea Rift and the Møre and Vøring rifted margins. We proceeded to the interpretation of a new dataset of deep penetrating seismic reflection profiles and worked at the regional scale, deliberately ignoring local particularities, to focus on the large-scale structural picture. The aim is to list architectural similarities and differences between the failed rift and the successful rifted margins.

The mapping shows that the North Sea structural geometries and basement seismic facies are very similar to the observations listed for the adjacent Møre and Vøring rifted margins. Various types of tectonic structures are observed, from thick anastomosing shear zones possibly evolving into core-complex geometries, to composite large-scale detachment faults and standard high-angle normal faults. These are categorized into five classes and interpreted as exemplifying the rift tectonic evolution through distinct generations of deformation structures that can activate, de-activate and re-activate. Based on these observations, rift failure dynamics are discussed, and it is proposed that the North Sea rift abandonment may not be related to pre-rift local conditions but rather to the ability to initiate specific tectonic structures such as distal breakaway complexes.

How to cite: Peron-Pinvidic, G.: Structural observations of the northern North Sea: insights into rift failure dynamics, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-7915, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-7915, 2024.

European rifts
Michal Rajchl, Karel Mach, Filip Havlíček, David Uličný, and Matěj Machek

The present-day geological and morphological expression of the Cenozoic Eger Rift in central Europe is dominated by the faulted edge of the Krušné Hory (Erzgebirge) Mts., a plateau uplifted to c. 1 km above sea level following the mid-Miocene, resulting in partial deformation and erosion of parts of the Eger Rift sedimentary and volcanic infill. The main phase of the uplift is considered to have occurred in Plio-Quaternary times, but details of this process and its relation to the Eger Rift itself remain unclear.

The Oligo – Miocene Most Basin is the most extensive sedimentary basin preserved within the Eger Rift. The basin, bounded at the NW by the Krušné Hory uplift, is characterized by an economically important coal seam, up to 35 m thick. Previous research has shown that during the formation of the basinwide swamps in early Miocene the basin was hydrologically open, with at least one but probably more outlets draining its area toward the North and Northwest, across today’s Krušné Hory (Erzgebirge) Fault Zone (KHFZ). During the earliest Miocene times, most of the region of today’s Krušné Hory / Erzgebirge uplifted block was thus a generally low-relief area. Paleogeographic changes in the Most Basin suggest an increasing activity of its marginal faults, some of which were predecessors of the present-day KHFZ, still during the early to mid-Miocene. For understanding the formation of this major fault zone it is important to answer the question of the timing, magnitude and character of initial relief growth along the nw. edge of the Eger Rift.

The stratigraphic and structural record exposed recently at the KHFZ provides evidence of a small-scale relay ramp that formed between two overlapping normal faults of E-W general strike and breached later by a normal fault of NE strike. Debris-flows conglomerates were found interbedded with carbonaceous mudstones and lignite layers belonging to the early Miocene main coal seam, in the close vicinity of the lower bounding fault containing boulders from a tectonic breccia of the fault damage zone. This fact indicates the existence of a prominent fault scarp developed along the fault plane of the above fault and considered the source of coarse-grained clastics during the initial, coal-bearing, phase of the basin formation. The subsequent acceleration of the Most Basin subsidence that resulted in basin-wide expansion of the swamp environment, can be explained by linkage of the border faults accompanied by breaching and drowning of some relay ramps.

The studied sedimentary record provides evidence of faulted relief with an elevation of tens of metres that contributed to the supply of clastic material to the incipient rift during early Miocene time. The subsequent breakage and drowning of the relay ramp provide evidence for syn-sedimentary activity some of NE-SW segments of the KHFZ previously thought to be a manifestation of later, post-rift deformation.

This research has been supported by the Czech Science Foundation (GAČR) project 22-13980S. We acknowledge support by the Severní energetická, a.s., and Ing. Petr Šulcek in conducting research in the Důl ČSA Mine.

How to cite: Rajchl, M., Mach, K., Havlíček, F., Uličný, D., and Machek, M.: Early relief growth at the edge of an incipient rift – the Eger Graben, Bohemia, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-9513, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-9513, 2024.

David Ulicny, Vladimír Cajz, Karel Mach, Lenka Špičáková, Matěj Machek, Stanislav Čech, Radomír Grygar, Jan Mrlina, and Filip Havlíček

The present-day surface morphology and fabric of the lithosphere of west-central Europe in the foreland of the Alpine orogen have been significantly affected by formation of a system of rifts and associated volcanic domains during the Oligocene and Neogene, known as the European Cenozoic Rift System (ECRIS). In order to better understand the geodynamic causes of formation of ECRIS and its volcanism, it is important to improve the knowledge of chronology of tectonic events in the entire ECRIS, and to test the validity of existing palaeostress interpretations. The Oligo-Miocene Eger Rift, so far the least-studied part of ECRIS, has the potential to bring new clues to some persisting controversies.

The axis of the Eger Rift roughly follows the trend of a major Variscan lithosphere-scale boundary, the Teplá-Barrandian/ Saxothuringian suture (TSS) formed during the collisional phases about 380-320 Ma. Following the Variscan collision, the lithosphere of the Bohemian Massif was affected by formation of a Late Paleozoic extensional basin system which in the western part of the Bohemian Massif largely follows the NE strike of the TSS. Another major structure in the basement underlying the Eger Rift is the WNW-striking Elbe Zone, with main periods of activity during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic through early Cenozoic.

We present a synthesis of presently available structural and stratigraphic data and a resulting first-order interpretation of tectonic evolution of central and eastern Eger Rift. The main data sources were borehole, outcrop, seismic reflection data, targeted field mapping, digital elevation models, and gravity data from both public and industry sources. Several stratigraphic levels (within the Neogene, Cretaceous, and top of Late Palaeozoic) were used as structural datums.

Analysis of fault populations in central and eastern Eger Rift shows that overall, the Late Paleozoic fracturation of the upper crust of the Bohemian Massif was key for localization of the main fault systems of the Eger Rift. This includes dextral shearing within the Elbe Zone that affected the basement structural grain responsible for segmentation of the Eger Rift during the Cenozoic. Changes between oblique and orthogonal extension modes are interpreted from the geometries and temporal relationships of key structures - both in time, likely due to a changing regional paleostress field, and in space, due to different orientations of basement structures between the rift segments.

This research has been supported by the Czech Science Foundation (GAČR) project 22-13980S.

How to cite: Ulicny, D., Cajz, V., Mach, K., Špičáková, L., Machek, M., Čech, S., Grygar, R., Mrlina, J., and Havlíček, F.: Structural inheritance and the evolution of an incipient rift: interaction between the Eger Graben and the Elbe Zone, Central Europe, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-8883, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-8883, 2024.

Radomír Grygar, Karel Mach, Roman Gramblička, and Tomáš Novotný

The Most Basin is the largest and best-preserved of sedimentary basins formed within the Eger Rift, the easternmost part of the European Cenozoic Rift System. Previous work on the tectono-sedimentary history of the basin and its surroundings has led to an interpretation of two main extensional phases that governed the Oligo-Miocene rift initiation and subsequent evolution. That interpretation has been derived mainly from large-scale considerations of main fault geometries, while a satisfactory support by a large mesoscopic dataset from the basin infill was lacking.


Systematic acquisition of mesoscopic structural data in some of the open-cast coal mines operating in the Most Basin has been motivated by prevention of accidents of bucket wheel excavators, threatened by sliding of blocks of mainly clayey sediments. As a result, over 5 thousand mesoscopic measurements were acquired in the Bílina Mine alone and hundreds in other mines over the past 13 years. In the Most Basin, the main coal seam is located close to the base of the basin fill. Open-case mines thus expose a thick overburden and, locally, also the underlying basement. The structural measurements involved the superposition and evolution of mesoscopic structural features in geological time, from Variscan metamorphic rocks through Cretaceous sediments and Oligocene volcanics through the Miocene coals and clastics of the basin fill.


Structural analysis of the dataset and statistical comparison of specific regions focused on

spatial and stratigraphic distribution of fault directions and inclination arrays, resulting in interpretation of spatial and stratigraphic distribution of local paleostress. The principal results are as follows:

  • the number of detected mesoscopic fault populations, as well as of interpreted deformation phases decreases upward through the stratigraphic column;
  • orientation of faults generally changes from a dominant E-W and NW-SE strike of population in the pre-Miocene formations into dominant SW-NE up to WSW-ENE strike within the youngest Libkovice Member (Early Miocene);
  • a trend of decreasing fault inclination from older, more consolidated formations to younger ones, most probably linked to rheological (stage of lithification) on brittle deformations;
  • generally, data evaluation of inclination and direction of faults gave generally similar results for the Bílina and Libouš mines, in spite of the 60 km distance between them and their proximity to different leading fault systems (Bílina and Victoria faults in the former case and the Ahníkov and Kralupy faults in the latter);
  • the large dataset of mesoscopic fault-slip data shows a generally more complex picture of possible paleostress evolution than the one derived from the geometries of the main bounding fault systems, due to the influence of local stress fields of normal and transtensional faults. The general picture, however, implies a plausible gradual evolution of extension vector from NNE-SSW to NW-SE orientations. throughout the early Miocene.


The Severočeské doly, a.s., supported the long-term acquisition of the structural dataset and its utilization for basic research purposes. This research has been supported by the Czech Science Foundation (GAČR) project 22-13980S.

How to cite: Grygar, R., Mach, K., Gramblička, R., and Novotný, T.: Insights into Miocene paleostress history of the Eger Rift from mining-related structural datasets: the Most Basin, Bohemia, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-15188, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-15188, 2024.

Filip Havlíček, David Uličný, Ondřej Krýza, Matěj Machek, Michael Warsitzka, and Prokop Závada

Continental lithosphere undergoing the process of rifting has typically previously experienced a complex deformation history resulting in a highly heterogeneous mechanical structure. This structural inheritance can affect the developing continental rift across all scales, from rift localization and segmentation to individual fault geometries. Assessing the impact of such inherited structures on extensional basin geometries can be difficult, especially in the case of fossil rifts where uncertainties may arise about the orientation of regional stresses during extension. One such example is the Eger Rift which developed during the Oligocene to early Miocene as the easternmost branch of the European Cenozoic Rift System (ECRIS). Earlier interpretation proposed a two-phase extensional history for the rift.

We use a series of crustal-scale, brittle-viscous analogue models, based on the geometry of the central and eastern parts of the Eger Rift, to explore the development of a segmented rift in a multiphase setting with evolving extension direction. Our model crust rests on a basal velocity discontinuity (VD), a discrete boundary of a mobile base plate simulating a reactivated basement weakness localizing our model rift. The geometry of this weakness is a simplified representation of the geometry of older, mainly Upper Paleozoic basins, which are hypothesized to have greatly influenced the localization and geometry of principal fault systems and rift segments that they define. The VD thus consists of 3 segments oriented at various angles with respect to extension direction. The Model surface is imaged by stereoscopic cameras and analyzed by Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) techniques to track surface deformation and topography evolution during the run.

Our results confirm that in a setting with an abrupt change in extension direction, the first extensional phase plays a key role in defining the final observed fault pattern with new second-phase faults generally being few in number and of limited length. This effect is enhanced above a segmented VD. If a larger portion of the VD is optimally oriented with respect to the first-phase extension, the final fault pattern is dominated by first-phase structures with the growth of second-phase faults being nearly inhibited. In a contrasting scenario, where most of the VD is initially oblique to extension direction, second-phase faults are more abundant, leading to a bimodal final fault pattern. By comparing our results with newly mapped fault populations in the Eger Rift we conclude that the proposed two-phase history for the rift is plausible with a major role of the initial phase of approximately N-S extension.

This research has been supported by the Czech Science Foundation (GAČR) project 22-13980S.

How to cite: Havlíček, F., Uličný, D., Krýza, O., Machek, M., Warsitzka, M., and Závada, P.: Modelling the effects of changing extension directions in a segmented rift: application to the Eger Rift, Central Europe, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-9770, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-9770, 2024.

Prokop Závada, Vladimír Cajz, Andrew Kylander-Clark, and David Uličný

A new set of high-precision U-Pb data was acquired for two groups of phonolite bodies emplaced in the volcano-sedimentary sequence of the Cenozoic Eger Rift in Bohemian Massif. The phonolites are located in the western (5 bodies) and eastern (3 bodies) edge of this monogenetic volcanic field, stretched along the central part of the Eger Rift system. The selected phonolite bodies represent lava flows, cryptodomes or extrusive domes emplaced in phreatomagmatic maar-diatremes, remnants of dykes, and a laccolith. The U-Pb dates were acquired using the Laser Ablation Split Stream system at Santa Barbara University geochronology lab, which provides the coupled geochronology and also REE and selected major element geochemistry. Despite the great variety of internal zircon textures from oscillatory zoning to complex patchy patterns with a large range of cathodoluminescence intensity, the groups of spots gained coherent and surprisingly precise ages for each sample. The western group of phonolite bodies, namely the Bořeň, Želenický vrch, Špičák, Hněvín, and Ryzelský vrch display clusters of ages ranging between 33Ma and 36Ma, while zircons of the eastern group of the phonolites, Krompach, Mariánská hora and Luž (Lausche) indicate ages between 30Ma and 32Ma. Terra-Wasserburg diagrams for individual samples revealed remarkable precision marked by errors of only 90-180 thousand years (5 samples) and 300-650 thousand years (2 samples). The U-Pb zircon ages are interpreted to reflect primarily the high-temperature overprint of inherited (and possibly newly crystallized) zircons before emplacement of the phonolite bodies in the upper crust. In addition, titanite grains measured alongside the zircon grains (in another run) either overlap (Bořeň) with the zircon age error on Terra-Wasserburg diagrams (geochrone) or are 2 Ma years younger than corresponding zircon ages (Špičák phonolite body). REE binary diagrams revealed separate clusters of Sm/Nd and also Hf content of the zircons, which can be attributed to different degrees of partial melting of parental magma in the source upper mantle or the lower crust for both groups of sampled phonolites. In summary, the results suggest that U-Pb geochronology using the LASS system is a powerful tool with a great potential for deciphering the evolution of phonolites in the Cenozoic Rift system in Bohemian Massif and possibly other rift systems in the foreland of the Alpine orogeny.

This research has been supported by the Czech Science Foundation (GAČR) project 22-13980S.

How to cite: Závada, P., Cajz, V., Kylander-Clark, A., and Uličný, D.: High precision U-Pb geochronology of Cenozoic phonolite volcanic bodies in Cenozoic Eger rift basin (Bohemian Massif), EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-14830, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-14830, 2024.

(Offshore) China
Chao-Hsun Wang, Ping-Rong Wu, Kenn-Ming Yang, Chih-Cheng Yang, and Bieng-Zih Hsieh

Jieyang Depression is located between the Southern Depression of the Taixinan Basin and the Chaoshan Depression of the Pearl River Mouth Basin in northern South China Sea. A series of NE-SW striking half graben developed in this area from late Mesozoic to early Paleogene, and then another two stages of normal faulting happened during Neogene. The development of these stages of normal faults are separated by the breakup unconformity and a post-rift truncation. The main purposes of this study are to investigate the evolutionary sequences of the multi-stages of normal faults and the truncations during the multi-stages of extension, the spatial distribution of each phase of normal faults, and how the younger normal faults were affected by the pre-existing ones.

The normal faults in the Jieyang Depression can be divided into three types. Type 1 faults are related to the Paleogene half graben formation and only cut through the pre-rift and syn-rift strata. Type 2 normal faults only developed and cut through the post-rift strata. Type 3 normal faults cut through the syn-rift and post-rift strata. In this study, we further divide the Type 2 normal faults into two different kinds. Type 2-1 faults developed above the Paleogene half graben and cut off by the post-rift truncation. Type 2-2 faults developed after the truncation. Type 3 normal faults can be divided into two different kinds as well. Type 3-1 faults developed in the syn-rift stage and yet were reactivated and linked with the faults developing in the later extension. Type 3-2 faults are the Type 2 faults that developed continuously cutting downward into the syn-rift strata.

In terms of spatial distribution, Type 1 normal faults strike NE-SW, forming the half grabens. Most of the Type 2 normal faults are located far away from continental shelf. Type 3 normal faults mostly distribute on the northeast and northwest sides of the study area, close to the continental shelf, and most of them are cut by the post-rift truncation.

As a result, from the late Mesozoic to the early Paleogene, the northern slope of the South China Sea experienced a NW-SE extension. At the end of the Paleogene, the extension ceased, forming the breakup unconformity. In the Neogene, the Jieyang Depression experienced second extension. In this time the extension orientation was NNW-SSE, developing Type 2-1 and Type 3 faults before the post-rift truncation. The subsequent truncation cuts Type 2-1 faults and the upper part of the Type 3 faults. After accumulating new strata above truncation, the third stage of extension happened and Type 2-2 faults developed after the post-rift truncation.

Key words: South China Sea, Jieyang Depression, normal fault, multi-stage extension, truncation

How to cite: Wang, C.-H., Wu, P.-R., Yang, K.-M., Yang, C.-C., and Hsieh, B.-Z.: Structural Mode and Evolution of Multi-stage Normal Fault Development in Jieyang Depression, NE South China Sea, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-17201, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-17201, 2024.

Mateus Rodrigues de Vargas, Geoffroy Mohn, Julie Tugend, Nick Kusznir, and Andrew Lin

The wide rifting mode that preceded the opening of the South China Sea (SCS) in the Cenozoic generated a set of Paleogene rift basins presently buried under thick post-rift sedimentary infill. Much of the tectonostratigraphic evolution of the South China Sea is now relatively well-constrained (e.g., Pearl River Mouth Basin). However, the SCS's northeasternmost part (i.e., the Tainan margin sensu lato), which might represent the oldest passive margin segment, remains to be integrated into the framework of the rifting and opening of the SCS.

This work aims to review and revisit the tectonostratigraphic evolution of the Tainan margin. To do so, an integrative approach has been used combining the analysis of seismic reflection and gravity data. We use 3D gravity inversion to determine the distribution of Moho depth and crustal thickness within this margin segment. The gravity inversion scheme incorporates a lithosphere thermal gravity anomaly correction, which is critically important because of the elevated geothermal gradient within the young oceanic lithosphere of the South China Sea and its continental margins. In the Tainan margin, results show contrasted crustal domains from the continental shelf, to the distal margin and oceanic domain.

Only limited crustal thinning is observed over the continental shelf where a succession of rift basins is documented (i.e., Taihsi, Nanjihtao, and Penghu basins) that are part of the Northern Rift System. In contrast, the distal Tainan margin shows greater crustal thinning to less than 10 km thick under an aborted breakup basin, thereby forming the Southern Rift System. To the south, this basin is separated from the unambiguous oceanic domain (6 to 8 km thick) by a comparatively thicker crustal block (~ 10 to 15 km thick). This crustal block forms the Southern High where numerous volcanic edifices and magmatic intrusions are observed or inferred.

Half-grabens of the Northern Rift System are controlled by counter-regional faults and filled by Paleocene to Eocene syn-rift sediments. For the distal domain, no well calibration is available. There, we identified several seismic units bounded by regional unconformities. Our results show relatively thin syn-rift sediments locally controlled by a low-angle normal fault system in the Southern Rift System. In contrast, thick post-rift sequences are observed except over the Southern High.

Based on our results, we propose a review of structural style and age correlations from the continental shelf to the distal domains of the Tainan margin. To illustrate along-strike variations of the crustal structure and stratigraphic style, we build an array of regional geological cross-sections that are further compared with existing observations in the adjacent Pearl River Mouth Basin.

How to cite: Rodrigues de Vargas, M., Mohn, G., Tugend, J., Kusznir, N., and Lin, A.: Tectonostratigraphic evolution of the Tainan Margin (NE South China Sea): comparison with the Pearl River Mouth Basin, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-11825, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-11825, 2024.

ming-jun zheng, Yuan-Hsi Lee, and eh Tan

Many orogenic belts today preserve evidence of past crustal rifting. During the syn-rifting, the crust undergoes thinning, forming rift basins with thick sedimentary deposits. The upwelling of the mantle during this extensional phase increases the geothermal gradient within the basin, affecting the crust and sedimentary rocks.

In this study, we used numerical models to simulate the temperature changes in sedimentary rocks within rift basins during both the active rifting phase and the passive continental margin phase after rifting cessation. We found that under a stretching rate of 0.7 cm per year, after 20 million years of continuous stretching, the geothermal gradient within the basin can reach 50-60°C per kilometer, with sedimentary rocks reaching temperatures as high as 450-500°C. After 20 million years of cooling following the end of stretching, the temperatures of the sedimentary rocks decrease by nearly 100°C, and the geothermal gradient reduces to approximately 30°C per kilometer.

We believe that these phenomena can be correlated with the evolution of the Hsuehshan Range in Taiwan, which experienced a transition from rifting to a passive continental margin. During the rifting phase, the temperatures of the sedimentary rocks within the basin reached high metamorphic temperatures of 450-500°C, as indicated by carbonaceous material Raman spectroscopy (RSCM). As the region entered the passive continental margin phase, the rocks gradually cooled, with a temperature decrease of nearly 100°C prior to the onset of mountain building in Taiwan. Similar high-temperature metamorphic temperatures were obtained through RSCM analysis along the Central Cross-Island Highway and Northern Cross-Island Highway, exceeding the closure temperatures of zircon core tracks. However, some zircon core tracks in certain areas did not yield closure ages, suggesting that the high metamorphic temperatures obtained from RSCM analysis were inherited from previous stretching events rather than occurring during the Penglai orogeny.

How to cite: zheng, M., Lee, Y.-H., and Tan, E.: Numerical modelling of continental margin of the Eurasian Plate Rifting and Tectonic evolution.Causes of the highest metamorphic temperature in the Hsuehshan Range and Backbone Range , EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-14297, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-14297, 2024.

Initial rifting to deep-water basin in the Songpan–Garzê Terrane, eastern Tethyan tectonic domain during Permian-Triassic 
(withdrawn after no-show)
Songnan Liu, Yu Wang, Shuangjian Li, Lei Zhang, and Xin Chen
Edge-driven convection’s role in producing post-rift magmatism at continental margins of the South China Sea
(withdrawn after no-show)
Zhibin Lei, Chaoyan Fan, Huilong Xu, and Shaohong Xia