9. Continental Rift Basins: The East African Perspective

  1. Cathy Busby3 and
  2. Antonio Azor4
  1. Cynthia Ebinger1 and
  2. Christopher A. Scholz2

Published Online: 30 JAN 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444347166.ch9

Tectonics of Sedimentary Basins: Recent Advances

Tectonics of Sedimentary Basins: Recent Advances

How to Cite

Ebinger, C. and Scholz, C. A. (2011) Continental Rift Basins: The East African Perspective, in Tectonics of Sedimentary Basins: Recent Advances (eds C. Busby and A. Azor), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444347166.ch9

Editor Information

  1. 3

    Department of Earth Science, University of California, Santa Barbara CA 93106, USA

  2. 4

    Departamento de Geodinámica, Universidad de Granada, Campus de Fuentenueva, s/n, 18071 Granada, Spain

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627, USA

  2. 2

    Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2012
  2. Published Print: 30 DEC 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405194655

Online ISBN: 9781444347166



  • rift basin;
  • rift architecture;
  • basin segmentation;
  • rift stratigraphy;
  • syn-rift magmatism


The seismically and volcanically active East African rift system is a system of faultbounded sedimentary basins and uplifted flanks spanning the African continent from the Horn of Africa to southern Africa. The East African rift transects a broad zone of uplift associated with the African Superplume province, with large tracts of the rift experiencing pre- and syn-rift magmatism. We review the rifting processes creating the broad plateaux, the uplifted rift flanks and fault-bounded rift valleys, outline the complex interplay between tectonically induced vertical crustal movements, climate, erosion, and sedimentation in rift zones, characterize spatial and temporal patterns of rift architecture from rift inception in Botswana to rupture within the Afar rift, and summarize the sedimentary framework of late Cenozoic basins in the East African rift system. Consistent spatial and temporal patterns document the feedbacks between faulting and sedimentation, and enable the development of predictive models for rift basin structure and stratigraphy, including the role of magmatism prior to and during rifting.