The East African Rift System has for long been regarded as providing a potential key or keys to understanding processes embodied in plate tectonics. Its study has attracted earth scientists for more than a century, often working in physically challenging and sometimes dangerous regions. The Afar region, located at the junction of three major Earth structures, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Ethiopian Rift, exemplifies this spectacularly. The challenges and potential rewards arising from its investigation still attract the attention of geologists and geophysicists, eager to brave the rigour of working in this part of north-east Africa....

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