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Rift propagation at craton margin: Distribution of faulting and volcanism in the North Tanzanian Divergence (East Africa) during Neogene times

CEA–CNRS, UMR 1572, LSCE, Domaine du CNRS Bat. 12, Avenue de la Terrasse, 91198 Gif sur Yvette Cedex, France
Tectonophysics (Impact Factor: 2.87). 06/2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.tecto.2007.11.005

ABSTRACT A revised kinematic model is proposed for the Neogene tectono-magmatic development of the North Tanzanian Divergence where the axial valley in S Kenya splits southwards into a wide diverging pattern of block faulting in association with the disappearance of volcanism. Propagation of rifting along the S Kenya proto-rift during the last 8 Ma is first assumed to have operated by linkage of discrete magmatic cells as far S as the Ngorongoro–Kilimanjaro transverse volcanic belt that follows the margin of cratonic blocks in N Tanzania. Strain is believed to have nucleated throughout the thermally-weakened lithosphere in the transverse volcanic belt that might have later linked the S Kenya and N Tanzania rift segments with marked structural changes along-strike. The North Tanzanian Divergence is now regarded as a two-armed rift pattern involving: (1) a wide domain of tilted fault blocks to the W (Mbulu) that encompasses the Eyasi and Manyara fault systems, in direct continuation with the Natron northern trough. The reactivation of basement fabrics in the cold and intact Precambrian lithosphere in the Mbulu domain resulted in an oblique rift pattern that contrasts with the orthogonal extension that prevailed in the Magadi–Natron trough above a more attenuated lithosphere. (2) To the E, the Pangani horst-like range is thought to be a younger (< 1 Ma) structure that formed in response to the relocation of extension S of the Kilimanjaro magmatic center. A significant contrast in the mechanical behaviour of the stretched lithosphere in the North Tanzanian diverging rift is assumed to have occurred on both sides of the Masai cratonic block with a mid-crustal decoupling level to the W where asymmetrical fault-basin patterns are dominant (Magadi–Natron and Mbulu), whereas a component of dynamical uplift is suspected to have caused the topographic elevation of the Pangani range in relation with possible far-travelled mantle melts produced at depth further North.

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