Aden-Afar Margins
Working Group

Questions & Objectives

Aden-Afar is one of the study areas designated to focus the research actions of the Actions Marges project. Aden-Afar is the youngest triple junction point on the globe where three rifts, including two already with oceanic crust, are breaking up the continent under the influence of an active mantle plume. All expansion stages, from pre-rift to active oceanic accretion centres are represented, along with a variety of stretched continental margin segments, volcanic and non-volcanic, when moving away from the triple junction towards the Gulf of Aden or the Red Sea. In contrast, the heart of the volcanic province is the ultimate stage of continental breakup, the only place on land where the activity, the morphology and the segmentation of axial rifts are comparable to those of oceanic segments.


For Aden-Afar two following research themes has been defined for the 2012-2015 phase:

  • The relationships between tectonic structures, nature and sources of mantle magmatism in the western extension on margins Afar, Djibouti and Eritrea.
  • Segmentation and contrasting stages of thinning and oceanisation.
  • Nature of the mantle and structural heritage within and at the periphery of the mantle plume in order to better constrain its control over the segmentation;
  • The sedimentary, thermal and structural context of onland basins around magmatic segments of the Afar depression and offshore basins at Eritrean and Yemen basins.
  • Nature and timing of vertical movements and the morphological inheritance of different segments from the syn-rift to the TOC;
  • The role of fluids (magmas and aqueous fluids) in the mechanics of extension and their involvement in the structure and functioning of the segments.

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