Study Finds Giant 'Superplume' Slowly Splitting Africa In Two
The Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano in Tanzania is part of a volcano system in the Great Rift Valley, where the continent of Africa is slowly splitting in two.
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“Geologist [I'm Climate Change]”
Since: Mar 07
#1 Aug 11, 2014
Seismic tomography highlighted a large plume of low density mid mantle material under NW Zimbabwe about 12 years ago. This one is a rising plume that is likely to become a large igneous province in the next 10 million years or so, & appears to be responsible for South Africa in particular going up in the world, producing spectacular coastal mountains on the edge of the former continental plain.
Cause of that plume appears to have been the delamination & sinking of a keel of diamondiferous eclogite down to the core during either the rise of the Ethiopian or the Virunga hotspot in the past. My best guess is the Ethiopian hotspot as the Virunga is closer to the main pan African mountain belt, where Cratonic crust is hard to find, The Virunga hotspot may have been the culprit however as it is low activity & quite old & is feeding all of the central African volcanic provinces erupting through thin bits of the overlying continental crust (a bit like bubbles of gas under an ice plate).
Spreading is most likely after the arrival of the Zimbabwe large igneous province plume @ the surface. The extra uplift & spreading kick is likely to force subduction in the South India-Aceh line of the indo/Australasian plate, forcing the Somali plate NE. and also moving the entire Carlsberg & mid Indian ridge with it as a mobile slow spreading centre.
One other superplume also identified lies under the Fiji plateau which is also going up in the world & is rifting in all sorts of weird radial ways. It is separated from the Australasian plate by the Vanuatu & Hunter ridge subduction zones, & also from the pacific plate by the Tonga-Kermadec subduction zone. Result is that Australasia plate motion may divert from N. to WNW, and finally NW. as a result of the impact of both plumes
Ho hum, another future plate continent configuration model in the bin, time to set up a new one.
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