Oblique rifting: the rule, not the exception.

Fragmentation of continents often involves obliquely rifting segments that feature a complex three-dimensional structural evolution. Here we show that more than ~ 70 % of Earth’s rifted margins exceeded an obliquity of 20° demonstrating that oblique rifting should be considered the rule, not the exception. This highlights the importance of three-dimensional approaches in modelling, surveying, and interpretation of those rift segments where oblique rifting is the dominant mode of deformation.

Our results are accessible through an interactive web interface that is summarised in the following animation:

Interactive globe of rift dynamics during Pangea breakup. The circle size illustrates rift velocity and the circle color depicts rift obliquity of a passive margin point. Data can be download in csv format. The interactive globe is available through this link


Global map of mean rift obliquity. For each rift point we display the time-averaged rift obliquity illustrating the prevalence of oblique rifting since Pangea fragmentation. (click to enlarge)


Cite as:

Brune, S., Williams, S.E., and Müller, R.D., 2018, Oblique rifting: the rule, not the exception: Solid Earth, v. 9, p. 1187–1206, doi: 10.5194/se-9-1187-2018.

Download and Resources:

Link to Paper , Link to Interactive Web Interface