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Classic models proposed that continental rifting begins at hotspots—domal uplifts with associated magmatism—from which three rift arms extend. Rift arms from different hotspots link up to form new plate boundaries, along which the continent breaks up, generating a new ocean basin and leaving failed arms, termed aulacogens, within the continent. In subsequent studies, hotspots became increasingly viewed as manifestations of deeper upwellings or plumes, which were the primary cause of continental rifting. We revisited this conceptual model and found that it remains useful, though some aspects require updates based on subsequent results. First, the rift arms are often parts...

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