Reports

Fission Track Evidence on the Initial Rifting of the Red Sea: Two Pulses, No Propagation

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Science  24 Nov 1995:
Vol. 270, Issue 5240, pp. 1341-1344
DOI: 10.1126/science.270.5240.1341

Abstract

Fission track analyses indicate that the Red Sea initially opened simultaneously along its entire length. Two distinct pulses of uplift and erosion characterized the early stages of rifting in the Red Sea throughout Egypt and in southwestern Saudi Arabia. The first pulse began at ∼34 million years ago (Ma). The second pulse began in the early Miocene (21 to 25 Ma) and marked the start of the main phase of extension. These data support a rigid plate model for continental extension. These results also indicate that the initiation of rift flank uplift, and therefore rifting, and volcanism occurred nearly simultaneously. This conflicts with classical models of active and passive extension that predict sequential development of these features.