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The Red Sea arm of the triple junction in northeastern Ethiopia provides an opportunity to investigate rift-forming processes at divergent boundaries. In an attempt to study the subsurface, especially the distribution and role of melt in the rifting process, we carried out a high-precision gravity survey with a mean-square error of 0.011 mgal, assisted by differential global positioning system measurements. The profile is 162 km long and strikes ENE-WSW across the southern part of the Red Sea rift at a latitude of approximately 11.75° N. Modelling of the Bouguer anomaly, constrained by a priori information, showed detailed in-rift variations in the crustal structure and the distribution of melt beneath the rift axis. Our interpretation suggested that the process of continental break-up is governed by crustal stretching and rifting accompanied by the emplacement of melt into the lower crust above a lower density upper mantle. In addition, we interpreted the thickness of the crust beneath this part of the rift axis to be 25 km. The subsurface distribution of density beneath the profile shows that the south-central part of the Red Sea rift has modified thinned crust, intruded by high-density material, which resembles the crust formed during seafloor spreading.
|Title of host publication||Geological Society Special Publication|
|Publisher||Geological Society of London|
|Number of pages||16|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|
|Name||Geological Society Special Publication|