Red Sea Kinematics in Relation to the Regional Tectonics Setting
Abstract:The Red sSea extensional system started approximately 22+3 Ma. Although, there is evidence that lithospheric weakening and associated incipient extension may have taken place since 30 Ma. There is oceanic crust found in the southern part of the rift, while the northern-most part still involves continental stretching. Meantime magnetic anomalies have been observed for the southern rift, the northern rift is characterized by several deeps where magnetic anomalies have been observed as well as an indication of the transition from continental to oceanic rifting. GPS stations along the Red Sea are consistent with kinematics implied from the magnetic anomalies - an opening rate in the southern part of ~ 15 mm/yr relative to Eurasia fixed while the opening rate in the is ~8 mm/yr. This significant decreasing of the opening rate towards the north implies complexity within the Red Sea extensional system.
Our purpose here is to place the Red Sea extensional kinematics within the regional tectonics context by combining constraints on the rate or style of extension within the Red Sea with tectonic activities on the adjacent continental regions. To accomplish this, we will model the extensional kinematics through time by comparing recent kinematics based on the geophysical observations with ones that based on geological observations. In terms of present-day geophysical observations, we have GPS and magnetic anomalies data, and crustal and lithospheric thickness. Geological observations primarily come from stratigraphic and structural data sets.
Our overall target is to construct a tectonic model that links the timing of the change in the style and extensional rate with the tectonic activities in Afar, Gulf of Aden, Zagros, Dead Sea fault and Anatolian region.