Controls on early‐rift geometry: new perspectives from the Bilila‐Mtakataka fault, Malawi

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Michael Hodge, Juliet Biggs, Ake Fagereng, Hassan Mdala


This study investigates the controls to fault and rift geometry for a young rift system. Our case study is a large fault in southern Malawi. The geometry of the fault at the surface, the scarp, and structures within the rocks the fault cuts through, are measured. We also calculate the scarp height. The orientation and height of the fault scarp implies that local stresses influence its geometry, not regional stresses. We develop a geometrical model to link the scarp and a fault at depth. The best‐fit model is consistent with the hypothesis that the local stress influences the current fault geometry. We propose that a weak zone at depth may also influence the fault geometry, but weaknesses near the surface only locally influence fault orientation.



Earth Sciences, Geology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Tectonics and Structure


Africa, earthquake, Fault, Rift, EARS, Foliation, Malawi, Scarp


Published: 2018-04-23 08:42


GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) 2.1

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