How populace mightiness convey looked: How a failed Saharan Atlantic Ocean rift zone sculped Africa’s margin

A hypothetical model of the circum-Atlantic percentage at present-day, if Africa had dissever into 2 parts along the West African Rift system. Here, the north-west travel of introduce solar daytime Africa would bring moved amongst the South American continent, forming a “Saharan Atlantic ocean”.

The written report highlights the importance of rift orientation relative to extension management every bit cardinal element deciding whether an body of body of water basin opens or an aborted rift basin forms inward the continental interior.
For hundreds of millions of years, the southern continents of South America, Africa, Antarctica, Australia, too Republic of Republic of India were united inward the supercontinent Gondwana. While the causes for Gondwana’s fragmentation are silent debated, it is clear that the supercontinent get-go dissever along along the East African coast inward a western too eastern travel earlier separation of South America from Africa took place. Today’s continental margins along the South Atlantic body of body of water too the subsurface graben construction of the West African Rift organization inward the African continent, extending from Nigeria northwards to Libya, render cardinal insights on the processes that shaped present-day Africa too South America.
Christian Heine (University of Sydney) too Sascha Brune (GFZ) investigated why the South Atlantic travel of this giant rift organization evolved into an body of body of water basin, whereas its northern travel along the West African Rift became stuck.
“Extension along the so-called South Atlantic too West African rift systems was nigh to dissever the African-South American travel of Gondwana North-South into nearly equal halves, generating a South Atlantic too a Saharan Atlantic Ocean,” geoscientist Sascha Brune explains. “In a dramatic plate tectonic twist, however, a competing rift along the present-day Equatorial Atlantic margins, won over the West African rift, causing it to larn extinct, avoiding the break-up of the African continent too the formation of a Saharan Atlantic ocean.”
The complex numerical models render a strikingly unproblematic explanation: the larger the angle betwixt rift tendency too extensional direction, the to a greater extent than forcefulness is required to hold a rift system. The West African rift featured a nearly orthogonal orientation amongst honour to westward extension which required distinctly to a greater extent than forcefulness than its ultimately successful Equatorial Atlantic opponent.

The higher upward even out is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German linguistic communication Research Centre for GeosciencesNote: Materials may live on edited for content too length.