Breaking Up is Never Easy: Why Do Some Rifts Fail and Others Succeed?

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Session ID#: 22413

Session Description:
The breakup of continents is a fundamental process of plate tectonics. However, we have not yet identified the crucial ingredients that permit complete rupture of strong continental lithosphere. Studies of continental breakup are biased towards success stories - rifts that evolve to oceanic spreading. Some extension episodes cease before this point, presumably in the absence of some fundamental process, initial condition(s), or forcing. Investigations of “failed rifts” may help isolate key processes or conditions that enable continental breakup, particularly when compared to successful examples. Outstanding questions include: Does rift success/failure depend on intrinsic or far-field properties? How do pre-existing structure, magma, and volatiles influence rift initiation, continuation, and extinction? Are failed rifts actually “paused rifts” that can later be reactivated? Do analogous mechanical controls apply to extinct seafloor spreading centers? We solicit contributions from diverse geoscience perspectives, including geodesy, geodynamics, geochemistry/petrology, volcanology, structural geology and seismology.
Primary Convener:  Zach Eilon, University of California Santa Barbara, Earth Science, Santa Barbara, CA, United States
Conveners:  Natalie J Accardo, Columbia University of New York, Palisades, NY, United States, James D Muirhead, University of Idaho, Geological Sciences, Moscow, ID, United States and D. Sarah Stamps, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA, United States
Co-Organized with:
Tectonophysics, Geodesy, and Seismology

  • DI - Study of the Earth's Deep Interior
  • G - Geodesy
  • S - Seismology
  • V - Volcanology, Geochemistry and Petrology
Index Terms:

Abstracts Submitted to this Session:

Sascha Brune, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany
Michael Edward Wysession1, Martin J Pratt2, Rakotondraibe Tsiriandrimanana3,4, Fenitra Sy Tanjona Andriampenomanana Ny Ony3,4, Andrew Nyblade5, Raymond J Durrheim6, Gérard Rambolamanana4, Ghassan I Aleqabi1 and Patrick Shore2, (1)Washington University in St Louis, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, St. Louis, MO, United States, (2)Washington University in St Louis, St. Louis, MO, United States, (3)University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, (4)Institute and Observatory of Geophysics Antananarivo-University of Antananarivo, Physics, Antananarivo, Madagascar, (5)Pennsylvania State University, Department of Geosciences, University Park, PA, United States, (6)University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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