New Age Constraints On The Timing Of Volcanism And Tectonism In The Northern Main Ethiopian Rift-Southern Afar Transition Zone (Ethiopia)

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Journal Article: New Age Constraints On The Timing Of Volcanism And Tectonism In The Northern Main Ethiopian Rift-Southern Afar Transition Zone (Ethiopia)

Abstract
Forty new K-Ar and 40Ar/39Ar isotopic ages from the northern Main Ethiopian Rift (MER)-southern Afar transition zone provide insights into the volcano-tectonic evolution of this portion of the East African Rift system. The earliest evidence of volcanic activity in this region is manifest as 24-23 Ma pre-rift flood basalts. Transition zone flood basalt activity renewed at approximately 10 Ma, and preceded the initiation of modern rift margin development. Bimodal basalt-rhyolite volcanism in the southern Afar rift floor began at approximately 7 Ma and continued into Recent times. In contrast, post-subsidence volcanic activity in the northern MER is dominated by Mio-Pliocene silicic products from centers now covered by Quaternary volcanic and sedimentary lithologies. Unlike other parts of the MER, Mio-Pliocene silicic volcanism in the MER-Afar transition zone is closely associated with fissural basaltic products. The presence of Pliocene age ignimbrites on the plateaus bounding the northern MER, whose sources are found in the present rift, indicates that subsidence of this region was gradual, and that it attained its present physiography with steep escarpments only in the Plio-Pleistocene. Large 7-5 Ma silicic centers along the southern Afar and northeastern MER margins apparently formed along an E-W-oriented regional structural feature parallel to the already established southern escarpment of the Afar. The Addis Ababa rift embayment and the growth of 4.5-3 Ma silicic centers in the Addis Ababa area are attributed to the formation of a major cross-rift structure and its intersection with the same regional E-W structural trend. This study illustrates the episodic nature of rift development and volcanic activity in the MER-Afar transition zone, and the link between this activity and regional structural and tectonic features.

Authors 
Tadiwos Chernet, William K. Hart, James L. Aronson and Robert C. Walter








Published Journal 
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 1998





DOI 
Not Provided
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Citation

Tadiwos Chernet,William K. Hart,James L. Aronson,Robert C. Walter. 1998. New Age Constraints On The Timing Of Volcanism And Tectonism In The Northern Main Ethiopian Rift-Southern Afar Transition Zone (Ethiopia). Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. (!) .