Oblique rift opening revealed by reoccurring magma injection in central Iceland


Extension deficit builds up over centuries at divergent plate boundaries and is recurrently removed during rifting events, accompanied by magma intrusions and transient metre-scale deformation. However, information on transient near-field deformation has rarely been captured, hindering progress in understanding rifting mechanisms and evolution. Here we show new evidence of oblique rift opening during a rifting event influenced by pre-existing fractures and two centuries of extension deficit accumulation. This event originated from the Bárðarbunga caldera and led to the largest basaltic eruption in Iceland in >200 years. The results show that the opening was initially accompanied by left-lateral shear that ceased with increasing opening. Our results imply that pre-existing fractures play a key role in controlling oblique rift opening at divergent plate boundaries.

DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12352

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@inproceedings{Ruch2016ObliqueRO, title={Oblique rift opening revealed by reoccurring magma injection in central Iceland}, author={Jo{\"{e}l Ruch and Teng Wang and Wenbin Xu and Martin Hensch and Sigurjon Jonsson}, booktitle={Nature communications}, year={2016} }