Italian Journal of Geosciences - Vol. 142 (2023) f.1

Transverse tectonics control on the Late Quaternary development of the Central Main Ethiopian Rift

Marco Benvenuti1, Giacomo Corti2, Derek Keir1,3 & Federico Sani1,2
1Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università degli Studi di Firenze.
2Istituto di Geoscienze e Georisorse, sezione di Firenze, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche.
3School of Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton.
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Volume: 142 (2023) f.1
Pages: 42-56


Extension of continental plates should typically result in the development of normal faults perpendicular or sub-perpendicular to the plate motion vector. However, several factors such as linkage of rift segments and the presence of pre-existing fabrics may result in the development of complex fault systems, with structures oblique or even sub-parallel to the extension vector. This paper is focused on the extension-related deformation of the central sector of the Main Ethiopian Rift (MER) and shows the presence of a transverse structure (ie., sub-parallel to extension) in the central MER that played an important role during the Late Quaternary, influencing the hydrographic evolution in this area. Structural data evidence its tectonic activity and the analysis of distribution of magmatic centres and other volcanic features shows that interaction between transverse structures and the faults delimiting the rift may favour formation of volcanic centres. The orientation of this transverse structure, sub-parallel to extension, is interpreted as being caused by the linkage of major segments of the MER that likely exploited pre-existing structures, as widely documented in the MER.


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