Magma-Tectonic Interactions in the Main Ethiopian Rift; Insights into Rifting Processes

Tim Greenfield, Derek Keir, Tesfaye Tessema (Contributor), Juliet Biggs, Ryan Lloyd

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Abstractpeer-review


We report observations made around the Bora-Tulu Moye volcanic field, in the Main Ethiopian Rift (MER). A network of seismometers deployed around the volcano for one and a half years reveals the recent state of the volcano. Accurate earthquake locations and focal mechanisms are combined with surface deformation and mapping of faults, fissures and geothermally active areas to reveal the interaction between magmatism and intra-rift faulting. More than 1000 earthquakes are detected and located, making the Bora-Tulu Moye volcanic field one of the most seismically active regions of the MER. Earthquakes are located at depths of less than 5 km below the surface and range between magnitudes of 1.5 - 3.5. Surface deformation of Bora-Tulu Moye is observed using satellite based radar interferometry (InSAR) recorded before and during the seismic deployment. Since 2004, deformation has oscillated between uplift and subsidence centered at the same spatial location but different depths. We constrain the source of the uplift to be at 7 km depth while the source of the subsidence is shallower. Micro-earthquake locations reveal that earthquakes are located around the edge of the observed deformation and record the activation of normal faults orientated at 025°. The spatial link between surface deformation and brittle failure suggest that significant hydrothermal circulation driven by an inflating shallow heat source is inducing brittle failure. Elsewhere, seismicity is focused in areas of significant surface alteration from hydrothermal processes. We use shear wave splitting using local earthquakes to image the stress state of the volcano. A combination of rift parallel and rift-oblique fast directions are observed, indicating the volcano has a significant influence on the crustal stresses. Volcanic activity around Bora-Tulu Moye has migrated eastwards over time, closer to the intra-rift fault system, the Wonji Fault Belt. How and why this occurs relates to changes in the melt supply to the upper crust from depth and has implications for the early stages of rift evolution and for volcanic and tectonic hazard in Ethiopia and rifts generally.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2017
EventAGU Fall Meeting 2017 - New Orleans, United States
Duration: 11 Dec 201715 Dec 2017


ConferenceAGU Fall Meeting 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans
Internet address


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