Continental Rift Basins: The East African Perspective

Cynthia Ebinger, Christopher A. Scholz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter

55 Scopus citations


The seismically and volcanically active East African rift system is a system of faultbounded sedimentary basins and uplifted flanks spanning the African continent from the Horn of Africa to southern Africa. The East African rift transects a broad zone of uplift associated with the African Superplume province, with large tracts of the rift experiencing pre- and syn-rift magmatism. We review the rifting processes creating the broad plateaux, the uplifted rift flanks and fault-bounded rift valleys, outline the complex interplay between tectonically induced vertical crustal movements, climate, erosion, and sedimentation in rift zones, characterize spatial and temporal patterns of rift architecture from rift inception in Botswana to rupture within the Afar rift, and summarize the sedimentary framework of late Cenozoic basins in the East African rift system. Consistent spatial and temporal patterns document the feedbacks between faulting and sedimentation, and enable the development of predictive models for rift basin structure and stratigraphy, including the role of magmatism prior to and during rifting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTectonics of Sedimentary Basins
Subtitle of host publicationRecent Advances
PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons Inc.
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9781405194655
StatePublished - Jan 30 2012


  • Basin segmentation
  • Rift architecture
  • Rift basin
  • Rift stratigraphy
  • Syn-rift magmatism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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