Images and videos of analogue centrifuge models exploring marginal flexure during rifting in Afar, East Africa

Zwaan, Frank; Corti, Giacomo; Keir, Derek; Sani, Federico (2020). Images and videos of analogue centrifuge models exploring marginal flexure during rifting in Afar, East Africa [Dataset]. Potsdam: GFZ Data Services 10.5880/fidgeo.2020.020

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This data set includes images and videos depicting the evolution of deformation and topography of 17 analogue experiments c passive margin development, to better understand the ongoing tectonics along the western margin of Afar, East Africa. The tectonic background that forms the basis for the experimental design is found in Zwaan et al. 2019 and 2020a-b, and references therein. The experiments, in an enhanced gravity field in a large-capacity centrifuge, examined the influence of brittle layer thickness, strength contrast, syn-rift sedimentation and oblique extension on a brittle-viscous system with a strong and weak viscous domain. All experiments were performed at the Tectonic Modelling Laboratory of of the Istituto di Geoscience e Georisorse - Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR-IGG) and of the Earth Sciences Department of the University of Florence (CNR/UF). The brittle layer (sand) thickness ranged between 6 and 20 mm, the underlying viscous layer, split in a competent and weak domain (both viscous mixtures), was always 10 mm thick. Asymmetric extension was applied by removing a 1.5 mm thick spacer at the side of the model at every time step, allowing the analogue materials to spread when enhanced gravity was applied during a centrifuge run. Differential stretching of the viscous material creates flexure and faulting in the overlying brittle layer. Total extension amounted to 10.5 mm over 7 intervals for Series 1 models that aimed at understanding generic passive margin development in a generic orthogonal extension setting, whereas up to 16.5 mm of extension was applied for the additional Series 2 models aiming at reproducing the tectonic phases in Afar. In models involving sedimentation, sand was filled in at time steps 2, 4 and 6 (i.e. after 3, 6 and 9 mm of extension). Detailed descriptions of the experiments, monitoring techniques and tectonic interpretation of the model results are presented in Zwaan et al. (2020c) to which these data are supplementary.

Item Type:



08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences > Tectonics

UniBE Contributor:

Zwaan, Frank


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology


GFZ Data Services


[4] Swiss National Science Foundation ; [UNSPECIFIED] PRIN


[UNSPECIFIED] The breaking up of continents: the Western Afar Margin as a case study




Frank Zwaan

Date Deposited:

11 Sep 2020 15:30

Last Modified:

11 Sep 2020 15:30

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