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Structural Architecture for Development of Marginal Extensional Sub-Basins in the Red Sea Active Rift Zone

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DOI: 10.4236/ijg.2012.31016    6,179 Downloads   10,970 Views Citations


This paper presents a robust kinematic model that describes northern Red Sea and Gulf of Suez rifting and the development of marginal extensional half-graben sub-basins (ESB). A combination of Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and structural data was used to provide model constraints on the development of rift segments and ESB in the active rift zones. Structural analysis shows rotation and change in strike of rift-bounding faults. The model describes the northern Red Sea region as a poly-phase rift system initiated by late Oligocene (30 - 24 Ma) orthogonal rifting and the development of marginal ESB (now inland ESB), followed by oblique rifting and flank uplift during the early Miocene (24 - 18 Ma). The oblique rifting fragmented the rift depression into segments separated by oblique-slip accommodation within reactivated Pan-African (ca. 600 Ma) fracture zones, resulting in the development of antithetic faults and an en-echelon distribution of inland ESB. The current phase of rifting was instigated by the development of the Dead Sea Transform in response to increased northeasterly extension during the middle Miocene (ca. 18 Ma). The model explains the widening of the Red Sea rift during the last phase more than the Gulf of Suez rift by developing more antithetic faults and formation of offshore ESB, and deepening the rift depression.

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R. Amer, M. Sultan, R. Ripperdan and J. Encarnación, "Structural Architecture for Development of Marginal Extensional Sub-Basins in the Red Sea Active Rift Zone," International Journal of Geosciences, Vol. 3 No. 1, 2012, pp. 133-152. doi: 10.4236/ijg.2012.31016.

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