Rifting incorporates the fundamental processes concerning the breakup of continental lithosphere and plays a significant role in the formation and evolution of sedimentary basins. In order to decipher the characteristics of rifting at its earliest stage, we conduct the first teleseismic crustal study of one of the world's youngest continental rifts, the Okavango Rift Zone (ORZ), where the magma has not yet breached the surface. Results from receiver function stacking and gravity modeling indicate that the crust/mantle boundary beneath the ORZ is uplifted by 4-5 km, and the initiation of the ORZ is closely related to lithospheric stretching. Possible decompression melting of the subcrustal lithosphere occurs beneath the ORZ, as evidenced by a relatively low upper mantle density based on the gravity modeling.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for High Performance Computing Research

Keywords and Phrases

Geologic Models; Lithology; Tectonics; Botswana; Continental Crusts; Continental Rifting; East African Rift; Okavango Rift; Structural Geology; Continental Breakup; Continental Crust; Continental Lithosphere; Crust-Mantle Boundary; Crustal Structure; Crustal Thinning; Decompression; Gravity; Magma; Melting; Rifting; Sedimentary Basin; Shear; Teleseismic Wave; Uplift; Upper Mantle; Botswana; East African Rift; Okavango Rift Zone

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2015 Blackwell Publishing Ltd, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Oct 2015