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Afar, Ethiopia: a new ocean in the making?

How northeast Africa is splitting to create a new ocean.

The paradigm of plate tectonics is widely accepted, but we have little understanding of the processes and controls involved because they operate on geological timescales that are rarely amenable to human observation. A recent volcanic eruption and rifting episode in the Afar region of northern Ethiopia is providing a unique opportunity to study the transition from continental break-up to seafloor spreading in an active setting, to document and model the magmatic and tectonic processes occurring, and to determine how the crust grows at divergent plate boundaries. This talk will present the recent event and our current state of knowledge, and outline experiments being performed by a number of scientific groups to investigate further, along with their preliminary results.


Professor Kathy Whaler | talks | www


Date and Time:

12 May 2009 at 1:00 pm


1 hour



Royal Astronomical Society
Burlington House

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£3 for advance tickets, free after 1215 on the day

Available from:

Reception at the Royal Astronomical Society.

Additional Information:

Tube: Green Park
Tel: 020 7734 3307
Seats will be offered on a first-come first served basis.

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