Collaborative Research: Integrated Studies of Early Stages of Continental Extension: from Incipient (Okavango) to Young (Malawi) Rifts
DESCRIPTION: The project will investigate the early stage Okavango Rift and the fully developed Mweru, Luangwa, and Malawi Rifts to address what dynamic processes drive rifting, what mechanisms promote and sustain strain localization, and how rift initiation impacts the crustal and upper mantle structure beneath young rifts and how these structures affect further rift growth. This will be accomplished using a combination of geophysical, geologic, geochemical, and geodynamic techniques.
OUTCOMES: Found that geometry of splays seen in areas of extreme extension places tight bounds on the strength of normal faults. Found that the amount of magma forced into the area below extensionally stressed lithosphere depends strongly on the density contrast between the magma and the surrounding rock and the temperature difference may be small so magma will harden slowly.