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Journal Article

The Evolution of Mantle Plumes in East Africa


Chang,  Sung‐Joon
External Organizations;


Kendall,  Elodie
0 Pre-GFZ, Departments, GFZ Publication Database, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum;

Davaille,  Anne
External Organizations;

Ferreira,  Ana M. G.
External Organizations;

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Chang, S., Kendall, E., Davaille, A., Ferreira, A. M. G. (2020): The Evolution of Mantle Plumes in East Africa. - Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 125, 12, e2020JB019929.

Cite as: https://gfzpublic.gfz-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_5007693
Global tomography models show a large low-velocity anomaly extending from the core-mantle boundary (CMB) beneath South Africa to the upper mantle in East Africa. Although it is believed that this anomaly is linked to mantle upwellings that control key surface features of the African continent, its origin and evolution are still debated. Here we assemble geochemical and seismological constraints along with information from new seismic analyses and geodynamic laboratory experiments to propose that presently there are at least two different plume heads beneath Afar and Kenya that originated at the CMB. A third plume between Kenya and Afar may have caused the Ethiopia-Yemen traps 30 Ma, now merging with the Afar plume. We infer that the Afar plume is presently detached from the CMB probably because of an interaction with the subducted Tethyan slab and that it is likely a dying plume. This may imply that rifts along the Main Ethiopian Rift would fail by the loss of thermal sources, which consequently hampers continental breakup.