Articles | Volume 9, issue 5
Research article
 | Highlight paper
26 Oct 2018
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 26 Oct 2018

Oblique rifting: the rule, not the exception

Sascha Brune, Simon E. Williams, and R. Dietmar Müller

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Cited articles

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.
Ali, J. R. and Aitchison, J. C.: Greater India's northern margin prior to its collision with Asia, Basin Res., 26, 73–84,, 2014.
Allken, V., Huismans, R. S., and Thieulot, C.: Factors controlling the mode of rift interaction in brittle-ductile coupled systems: A 3D numerical study, Geochem. Geophy. Geosy., 13, Q05010,, 2012.
Ammann, N., Liao, J., Gerya, T., and Ball, P.: Oblique continental rifting and long transform fault formation based on 3D thermomechanical numerical modeling, Tectonophysics, in press,, 2017.
Atwater, T. and Stock, J.: Pacific-North America Plate Tectonics of the Neogene Southwestern United States: An Update, Int. Geol. Rev., 40, 375–402,, 1998.
Short summary
Fragmentation of continents often involves obliquely rifting segments that feature a complex three-dimensional structural evolution. Here we show that more than ~ 70 % of Earth’s rifted margins exceeded an obliquity of 20° demonstrating that oblique rifting should be considered the rule, not the exception. This highlights the importance of three-dimensional approaches in modelling, surveying, and interpretation of those rift segments where oblique rifting is the dominant mode of deformation.