Articles | Volume 12, issue 7
Research article
02 Jul 2021
Research article |  | 02 Jul 2021

Complex rift patterns, a result of interacting crustal and mantle weaknesses, or multiphase rifting? Insights from analogue models

Frank Zwaan, Pauline Chenin, Duncan Erratt, Gianreto Manatschal, and Guido Schreurs


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Short summary
We used laboratory experiments to simulate the early evolution of rift systems, and the influence of structural weaknesses left over from previous tectonic events that can localize new deformation. We find that the orientation and type of such weaknesses can induce complex structures with different orientations during a single phase of rifting, instead of requiring multiple rifting phases. These findings provide a strong incentive to reassess the tectonic history of various natural examples.