The northern Red Sea and the Dead Sea rift

Yossi Mart, Philip D. Rabinowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The results of geophysical measurements at sea, when combined with mesostructural measurements on land, demonstrate systematic extensional features in the region of the northern Red Sea and the Dead Sea rift. Rifts and diapirs were encountered in the northern Red Sea, showing an arcuate trend. Whereas the faulted continental margins at that region are oriented NW-SE, the rifts and the diapirs changed their trend northwards from NNW-SSE to N-S. Systems of rifts and diapirs are considered to be extensional features, therefore the tectonic extensional axis probably changed its orientation accordingly. A series of rifts and diapirs was found also in the Gulf of Elat, trending approximately parallel to the coastlines, and is interpreted to be the northern extension of the Red Sea rift and diapir system. Mesostructural measurements that were carried out in the western flank of the Dead Sea rift indicated further evidence for structural extension, trending E-W to ENE-WSW, in addition to measurements of left-lateral offset of approximately 10 km. All these data, when combined with the geophysical measurements of the characteristics of the earth crust underneath the Dead Sea rift, suggest a tectonic regime of oblique extension in the region of the Red Sea and the Dead Sea rift. This tectonic regime indicates that the Red Sea spreading center extends northwards along the Dead Sea rift, and the clockwise change of the axial trend imposed a sinistral offset to the tectonic extension. Thus it is suggested that the Dead Sea rift is an incipient oblique spreading center.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-113
Number of pages29
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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