About this Research Topic
The Afro-Arabian rift system – the world’s largest active continental rift – extends from the Jordan Valley in the North towards the Afar triple junction and into the African Plate in the South. The relative movement between the Arabian and African Plates created major geological structures such as the Red Sea, the Danakil Depression, the Gulf of Aden and the East African Rift. The strike-slip component is accommodated in the northernmost part of the Afro-Arabian rift system by the Dead Sea transform fault and its marine extension in the Gulf of Aqaba.
This complex geodynamic context exposes all facets of continental rifting and oceanic spreading, with e.g. basin formation, continental breakup, intense seismicity, significant volcanic and hydrothermal activity as just a few of the key aspects, amongst others. Many aspects of the Afro-Arabian rift system still remain unclear or are under continuous discussion. Examples include the nature of the Red Sea crust, the evolution and motion of the Danakil microplate or the relationship between the Red Sea and East African Rift magmatism with the Afar plume. The Afro-Arabian rift system is studied both onshore and offshore, by many disciplines of Earth Sciences (e.g. tectonics, volcanology, geodynamics, geochemistry) by using multiple approaches including fieldwork, geodesy, active and passive geophysical methods and remote sensing. All these studies aim to answer fundamental questions on the deep magmatic and tectonic processes that drive extension and plate motion and how they relate to volcanism, intense seismicity and ground deformation; how did the Afro-Arabian rift change during its evolution? and how do the geodynamic and geochemical processes evolve from continental rifting to seafloor spreading?
This Research Topic will collect an interdisciplinary census on the latest, high quality research of the Afro-Arabian Rift system from the mantle to the surface. We thus welcome contributions from (but not limited to) tectonics, structural geology, volcanology, petrology, sedimentology, remote sensing, geomorphology and geodynamic modelling that investigate the basins of the Gulf of Suez and Aqaba, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Danakil depression, the East African Rift and their associated surrounding regions.
Keywords: Afro-Arabian rift, Red Sea, continental breakup, mid-ocean ridges, basin formation
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