Abstract

Multifold seismic reflection and geologic mapping in part of the eastern branch of the East African Rift system of northern Kenya reveal a major rift structure containing at least 3 km of Neogene sediment fill beneath Lake Turkana. This includes a series of half-graben basins, with centrally located Quaternary volcanic centers, which are linked end-to-end by structural accommodation zones. Whereas the geometry of rifting is similar to that of the nonvolcanic western branch of the East African Rift system, the Turkana half-grabens are much smaller and may reflect extension of a thinner lithosphere or development of more closely spaced fracture patterns during rift evolution, or both.

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