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Magmatic Rifting and Active Volcanism

Product Code: SP420
Series: GSL Special Publications - print copy
Author/Editor: Edited by T.J. Wright, A. Ayele, D.J. Ferguson, T. Kidane and C. Vye-Brown
Publication Date: 06 September 2016
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Special Publication 420

A major rifting episode began in the Afar region of northern Ethiopia in September 2005. Over a ten-day period, c. 2.5 km3 of magma were intruded along a 60 km-long dyke separating the Arabian and Nubian plates. Over the next five years, a further 13 dyke intrusions caused continued extension, eruptions and seismicity. This activity led to a renewed international focus on the role of magmatism in rifting, with major international collaborative projects working in Afar and Ethiopia to study the ongoing activity and to place it in a broader context. This book brings together articles that explore the role of magmatism in rifting, from the initiation of continental break-up through to full seafloor spreading. We also explore the hazards related to rifting and the associated volcanism. This work has implications for our understanding of how continents break-up and the associated distribution of resources in rift basins and continental margins.

Published online 24/08/2016. Print copies available from 06/09/2016.

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Type: Book
Ten Digit ISBN: 1-86239-729-5
Thirteen Digit ISBN: 978-1-86239-729-3
Publisher: GSL
Binding: Hardback
Pages: 384
Weight: 1.1 kg


Wright, T. J., Ayele, A., Ferguson, D., Kidane, T. & Vye-Brown, C. Magmatic rifting and active volcanism: introduction


The role of magmatism in continental rifting

Kendall, J.-M. & Lithgow-Bertelloni, C. Why is Africa rifting?

Guth, A. L. Volcanic volumes associated with the Kenya Rift: recognition and correction of preservation biases

Robertson, E. A. M., Biggs, J., Cashman, K. V., Floyd, M. A. & Vye-Brown, C. Influence of regional tectonics and pre-existing structures on the formation of elliptical calderas in the Kenyan Rift

Gummert, M., Lindenfeld, M., Wölbern, I., Rümpker, G., Celestin, K. & Batte, A. Crustal structure and high-resolution Moho topography across the Rwenzori region (Albertine rift) from P-receiver functions

Alvarez, R. & Yutsis, V. The elusive Rivera-Cocos plate boundary: not diffuse


Magma-dominated rifting in the Afar triple junction

Johnson, N. E., Whaler, K. A., Hautot, S., Fisseha, S., Desissa, M. & Dawes, G. J. K. Magma imaged magnetotellurically beneath an active and an inactive magmatic segment in Afar, Ethiopia

Hammond, J. O. S. & Kendall, J.-M. Constraints on melt distribution from seismology: a case study in Ethiopia

Barnie, T. D., Keir, D., Hamling, I., Hofmann, B., Belachew, M., Carn, S., Eastwell, D., Hammond, J. O. S., Ayele, A., Oppenheimer, C. & Wright, T. A multidisciplinary study of the final episode of the Manda Hararo dyke sequence, Ethiopia, and implications for trends in volcanism during the rifting cycle

Lewi, E., Keir, D., Birhanu, Y., Blundy, J., Stuart, G., Wright, T. & Calais, E. Use of a high-precision gravity survey to understand the formation of oceanic crust and the role of melt at the southern Red Sea rift in Afar, Ethiopia

Barnie, T. D., Oppenheimer, C. & Pagli, C. Does the lava lake of Erta ‘Ale volcano respond to regional magmatic and tectonic events? An investigation using Earth Observation data

Kidane, T. Strong clockwise block rotation of the Ali-Sabieh/Aïsha Block: evidence for opening of the Afar Depression by a ‘saloon-door’ mechanism

Mège, D., Purcell, P., Bézos, A., Jourdan, F. & La, C. A major dyke swarm in the Ogaden region south of Afar and the early evolution of the Afar triple junction


Mid-ocean ridges and continental margins

Carbotte, S. M., Smith, D. K., Cannat, M. & Klein, E. M. Tectonic and magmatic segmentation of the Global Ocean Ridge System: a synthesis of observations

Hjartardóttir, Á. R., Einarsson, P., Magnúsdóttir, S., Björnsdóttir, Þ. & Brandsdóttir, B. Fracture systems of the Northern Volcanic Rift Zone, Iceland: an onshore part of the Mid-Atlantic plate boundary

Koopmann, H., Schreckenberger, B., Franke, D., Becker, K. & Schnabel, M. The late rifting phase and continental break-up of the southern South Atlantic: the mode and timing of volcanic rifting and formation of earliest oceanic crust


Hazards from magmatic rifts

Ayele, A., Ebinger, C. J., Van Alstyne, C., Keir, D., Nixon, C. W., Belachew, M. & Hammond, J. O. S. Seismicity of the central Afar rift and implications for Tendaho dam hazards

Vye-Brown, C., Sparks, R. S. J., Lewi, E., Mewa, G., Asrat, A., Loughlin, S. C., Mee, K. & Wright, T. J. Ethiopian volcanic hazards: a changing research landscape




Mark Griffin

The volume provides an excellent overview of the recent interdisciplinary geoscientific developments within this important and evolving field. The contributions are well-written and edited, complemented with appropriate figures, photographs and data-tables, features that one has come to expect from the GSL Special Publication series. The editors and contributors are to be congratulated. An informative and recommended read.

Featured in Geoscientist vol 27/7 Aug 2017

Stuart Swales, OUGS Treasurer, OUGS Webmaster

Featured in Proceedings of the Open University Geological Society Volume 4 2018

This book is based around the themes discussed at a subsequent scientific workshop on ‘Magmatic Rifting and Volcanism’ held in Addis Ababa, following the progress of
rifting from the first stages of continental break-up through to full seafloor spreading. There is also a section on some geohazards that may be presented by active magmatic rifts such as those found in Afar. An introductory chapter delves into the background to the genesis of the book, sets out the thematic arrangement, goes into some detail on each of the articles found therein and references numerous other works that have
come out of this period of research.

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