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

Related authors

Analogue modelling of basin inversion: implications for the Araripe Basin (Brazil)
Pâmela C. Richetti, Frank Zwaan, Guido Schreurs, Renata S. Schmitt, and Timothy C. Schmid
Solid Earth, 14, 1245–1266,,, 2023
Short summary
(D)rifting in the 21st century: Key processes, natural hazards and geo-resources
Frank Zwaan, Tiago Alves, Patricia Cadenas, Mohamed Gouiza, Jordan Phethean, Sascha Brune, and Anne Glerum
EGUsphere,,, 2023
Short summary
The link between Somalian Plate rotation and the East African Rift System: an analogue modelling study
Frank Zwaan and Guido Schreurs
Solid Earth, 14, 823–845,,, 2023
Short summary
Analogue modelling of basin inversion: a review and future perspectives
Frank Zwaan, Guido Schreurs, Susanne J. H. Buiter, Oriol Ferrer, Riccardo Reitano, Michael Rudolf, and Ernst Willingshofer
Solid Earth, 13, 1859–1905,,, 2022
Short summary
A systematic comparison of experimental set-ups for modelling extensional tectonics
Frank Zwaan, Guido Schreurs, and Susanne J. H. Buiter
Solid Earth, 10, 1063–1097,,, 2019
Short summary

Related subject area

Subject area: Tectonic plate interactions, magma genesis, and lithosphere deformation at all scales | Editorial team: Structural geology and tectonics, paleoseismology, rock physics, experimental deformation | Discipline: Tectonics
Extensional exhumation of cratons: insights from the Early Cretaceous Rio Negro–Juruena belt (Amazonian Craton, Colombia)
Ana Fonseca, Simon Nachtergaele, Amed Bonilla, Stijn Dewaele, and Johan De Grave
Solid Earth, 15, 329–352,,, 2024
Short summary
Hydrogen solubility of stishovite provides insights into water transportation to the deep Earth
Mengdan Chen, Changxin Yin, Danling Chen, Long Tian, Liang Liu, and Lei Kang
Solid Earth, 15, 215–227,,, 2024
Short summary
Networks of geometrically coherent faults accommodate Alpine tectonic inversion offshore southwestern Iberia
Tiago M. Alves
Solid Earth, 15, 39–62,,, 2024
Short summary
Interseismic and long-term deformation of southeastern Sicily driven by the Ionian slab roll-back
Amélie Viger, Stéphane Dominguez, Stéphane Mazzotti, Michel Peyret, Maxime Henriquet, Giovanni Barreca, Carmelo Monaco, and Adrien Damon
EGUsphere,,, 2024
Short summary
Crustal Softening at Propagating Rift Tips, East Africa
Folarin Kolawole and Rasheed Ajala
EGUsphere,,, 2023
Short summary

Cited articles

Acocella, V., Facenna, C., Funiciello, R., and Rosetti, F.: Sand-box modelling of basement-controlled transfer zones in extensional domains, Terra Nova, 11, 149–156,, 1999. 
Adam, J., Urai, J. L., Wieneke, B., Oncken, O., Pfeiffer, K., Nukowski, N., Lohrmann, J., Hoth, S., Van der Zee, W., and Schmatz, J.: Shear localisation and strain distribution during tectonic faulting – new insights from granular-flow experiments and high-resolution optical image correlation techniques, J. Struct. Geol., 27, 283–301,, 2005. 
Agostini, A., Corti, G., Zeoli, A., and Mulugeta, G.: Evolution, pattern, and partitioning of deformation during oblique continental rifting: Inferences from lithospheric-scale centrifuge models, Geochem. Geophy. Geosy., 10, Q11015,, 2009. 
Agostini, A., Bonini, M., Corti, G., Sani, F., and Mazzarini, F.: Fault architecture in the Main Ethiopian Rift and comparison with experimental models: Implications for rift evolution and Nubia-Somalia kinematics, Earth Planet. Sc. Lett., 301, 479–492,, 2011. 
Allemand, P. and Brun, J.-P.: Width of continental rifts and rheological layering of the lithosphere, Tectonophysics, 27, 283–301,, 1991. 
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.