Title

Fault Growth and Propagation During Incipient Continental Rifting: Insights from a Combined Aeromagnetic and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission Digital Elevation Model Investigation of the Okavango Rift Zone, Northwest Botswana

Abstract

Digital Elevation Models (DEM) extracted from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) data and high-resolution aeromagnetic data are used to characterize the growth and propagation of faults associated with the early stages of continental extension in the Okavango Rift Zone (ORZ), northwest Botswana. Significant differences in the height of fault scarps and the throws across the faults in the basement indicate extended fault histories accompanied by sediment accumulation within the rift graben. Faults in the center of the rift either lack topographic expressions or are interpreted to have become inactive, or have large throws and small scarp heights indicating waning activity. Faults on the outer margins of the rift exhibit either (1) large throws or significant scarp heights and are considered older and active or (2) throws and scarp heights that are in closer agreement and are considered young and active. Fault linkages between major fault systems through a process of “fault piracy” have combined to establish an immature border fault for the ORZ. Thus, in addition to growing in length (by along-axis linkage of segments), the rift is also growing in width (by transferring motion to younger faults along the outer margins while abandoning older faults in the middle). Finally, utilization of preexisting zones of weakness allowed the development of very long faults (>100 km) at a very early stage of continental rifting, explaining the apparent paradox between the fault length versus throw for this young rift. This study clearly demonstrates that the integration of the SRTM DEM and aeromagnetic data provides a 3-D view of the faults and fault systems, providing new insight into fault growth and propagation during the nascent stages of continental rifting.

Department(s)

Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Coupling SRTM (DEM) -- Aeromagnetic Data; Fault Linkages; Incipient Rifts

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Citation

File Type

text

Language(s)

English

Rights

© 2008 American Geophysical Union (AGU), All rights reserved.

Share

 
COinS