Crustal structure of the Horn of Africa and southern Gulf of Aden
: evidence from receiver functions on Somaliland

  • Ibrahim Yusuf

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science by Research (MScR)


The Horn of Africa, specifically the northern Somalia region, and Yemen's conjugate margin, were shaped by the rifting of the Arabian and African plates during the Oligocene-Miocene period (Ali and Watts, 2013). The Gulf of Aden, a young oceanic rift, has captured the attention of the scientific drilling community as a prospective area to investigate continental rupture and rift initiation.

While the crustal structure on either side of the Horn of Africa is well-documented (e.g., Dugta et al., 2005; Ahmed et al., 2013; Ahmed et al., 2014), there remains a significant knowledge gap regarding the deep crustal structure of the rifted margins and plateau in northern Somalia. Understanding crustal thickness variations and the presence of magmatic input is essential for quantifying tectonic stretching and magmatic addition during continental rifting.

This research project aims to address these gaps by constraining the Moho depths in the rifted continental crust and plateau of northern Somalia. To achieve this, we propose to employ P-wave receiver functions, as established by Burdick & Langston (1977), Langston (1977), and Ammon (1991), to image the crustal structure, including thickness and average seismic properties, in the rifted margins of the Horn of Africa and the southern Gulf of Aden.
Date of Award6 Dec 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorJames M Wookey (Supervisor) & Max Werner (Supervisor)

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