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Title: Volcanic and magmatic processes at a young spreading centre in Afar, Ethiopia
Author: Ferguson, David J.
ISNI:       0000 0001 2443 1217
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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The Dabbahu-Manda Hararo rift segment is a ~25 x 60 km rift zone in Afar, Ethiopia, where a series of axial dyke intrusions has recently occurred. Basaltic eruptions associated with individual dyking events between 2007-2010 have been fed from fissures along the rift axis and been relatively short-lived events lasting less than 60 hours. The volume of melt delivered to the rift surface by these eruptions has been a minor component of the total melt volume supplied to the shallow crust since the onset of the active rifting phase in 2005 and the current intruded to erupted melt ratio for the 2005-2010 period is ~260:1. This is below typical values for magmatic rift zones and may suggest that further volcanism is likely to occur before this activity ceases. 40Ar/39Ar geochronology of basaltic lavas from the flank of the rift and from a region of off-axis volcanism to the west of the rift zone gives ages of 25 – 450 ka. These constrain the development of a prominent axial graben in the northern part of the rift to < 30 ka and based on the age-distribution of lavas across the rift flank suggests that volcanism has been focused to the present neo-volcanic zone for at least 200 ka. Geochemical and isotopic constraints on melt generation suggest ~4-6 % partial melting of fertile mantle beneath rift at depth of ~100-75 km. Lavas erupted at the rift axis and from off-axis volcanoes are derived from a common mantle source, however, axial lavas are shown to represent slightly greater extents of partial melting suggesting a focused mantle melting anomaly, such as those seen at ocean ridges, is forming beneath the rift zone.
Supervisor: Pyle, David M. ; Blundy, Jon ; Oppenheimer, Clive Sponsor: Natural Environment Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Physical Sciences ; Earth sciences ; Petrology ; Geochemistry ; tectonics ; volcanology ; petrogenesis ; Afar