Evidence for Active Rhyolitic dike Intrusion in the Northern Main Ethiopian Rift from the 2015 Fentale Seismic Swarm

Tesfaye Tessema, Juliet Biggs, Elias Lewi, Atalay Ayele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

82 Downloads (Pure)


Magmatic intrusions play a vital role not only in accommodating extensional stresses in continental rifts but also in feeding volcanic systems. The location, orientation, and timescale of dike intrusions are dictated by the interaction of regional and local stresses, the effect of pre‐existing weaknesses, and the composition of magma. Observing active intrusions can provide important information regarding the interaction between magmatic processes and the tectonic stress field during continental rifting. We focus on a seismic swarm that occurred in 2015 to the northeast of Fentale volcano, in the Main Ethiopian Rift (MER), and use radar interferometry to study surface deformation associated with the seismic swarm. Interferograms show a pattern of dike‐induced deformation, with a model estimate of volume change of 33×106±0.6×106m3 at a depth range of 5.4 to 8 km. We use a small baseline subset algorithm to calculate line of sight time series and find that the displacements decay exponentially with a decay constant of ∼83 days. Coupled source‐sink models suggest that such slow dike intrusions require a high viscosity rhyolitic magma. The difference in behavior between Fentale and other caldera systems in the MER, which show multi‐year cycles of inflation and deflation, suggests fundamental differences in magma composition and architecture of the plumbing system. This is the first direct observation of a dike intrusion in the MER and provides new constraints on the temporal‐spatial patterns of stress and strain that occur during continental rifting. Whether this activity is transient or a long‐term feature associated with rift evolution is an open question.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Early online date25 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 May 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Evidence for Active Rhyolitic dike Intrusion in the Northern Main Ethiopian Rift from the 2015 Fentale Seismic Swarm'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this