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Magmatic cycles pace tectonic and morphological expression of rifting (Afar depression, Ethiopia)

Medynski, S.; Pik, R.; Burnard, P.; Dumont, S.; Grandin, R.; Williams, A.; Blard, P.-H.; Schimmelpfennig, I.; Vye-Brown, C.; France, L.; Ayalew, D.; Benedetti, L.; Yirgu, G.. 2016 Magmatic cycles pace tectonic and morphological expression of rifting (Afar depression, Ethiopia). Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 446. 77-88. 10.1016/j.epsl.2016.04.014

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Abstract/Summary

The existence of narrow axial volcanic zones of mid-oceanic ridges testifies of the underlying concentration of both melt distribution and tectonic strain. As a result of repeated diking and faulting, axial volcanic zones therefore represent a spectacular topographic expression of plate divergence. However, the submarine location of oceanic ridges makes it difficult to constrain the interplay between tectonic and magmatic processes in time and space. In this study, we use the Dabbahu–Manda Hararo (DMH) magmatic rift segment (Afar, Ethiopia) to provide quantitative constraints on the response of tectonic processes to variations in magma supply at divergent plate boundaries. The DMH magmatic rift segment is considered an analogue of an oceanic ridge, exhibiting a fault pattern, extension rate and topographic relief comparable to intermediate- to slow-spreading ridges. Here, we focus on the northern and central parts of DMH rift, where we present quantitative slip rates for the past 40 kyr for major and minor normal fault scarps in the vicinity of a recent (September 2005) dike intrusion. The data obtained show that the axial valley topography has been created by enhanced slip rates that occurred during periods of limited volcanism, suggestive of reduced magmatic activity, probably in association with changes in strain distribution in the crust. Our results indicate that the development of the axial valley topography has been regulated by the lifetimes of the magma reservoirs and their spatial distribution along the segment, and thus to the magmatic cycles of replenishment/differentiation (<100 kyr). Our findings are also consistent with magma-induced deformation in magma-rich rift segments. The record of two tectonic events of metric vertical amplitude on the fault that accommodated the most part of surface displacement during the 2005 dike intrusion suggests that the latter type of intrusion occurs roughly every 10 kyr in the northern part of the DMH segment.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.epsl.2016.04.014
ISSN: 0012821X
Date made live: 25 Aug 2016 15:11 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/514354

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