Surface displacements mechanism of the Dobi Graben from ASAR time-series analysis of InSAR: Implications for the tectonic setting in the Central Afar Depression, Ethiopia

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Demissie, Zelalem S.
Rimmington, Glyn M.
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East Africa Rift System , Afar Depression , Small Baseline Subset Algorithm , Strain distribution and accommodation , Time series surface displacement
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The Dobi graben is a Quaternary, NW-trending continental rift found within the East-Central Block (ECB) of the Afar Depression (AD) in Ethiopia. The AD might be the only place where three active rifts meet on land. This diffused, Rift–Rift–Rift (RRR) triple junction in the ECB comprises the overlap zone between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden propagators. Rifting is ongoing in the Dobi graben as evidenced by the August 1989 earthquakes (of magnitude 5.7 < MW < 6.2). This study carried out a surface displacement time-series analysis to examine the kinematics of the Dobi graben and the surrounding area using 18 ascending orbit scenes (between May 2005 and March 2010) along tract 257 and 15 along the descending orbit (tract 006) of the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR), C-band (λ = 5.6 cm) acquired by the ENVIronmental SATellite (ENVISAT). We utilized the Small Baseline Algorithm (SBA) techniques of the distributed scatterer, which were implemented independently to generate Line of Sight (LOS) displacement maps. These LOS displacement surface movements, identified in both geometries, can be interpreted as ± signs of predominantly vertical movement in both geometries: positive for uplifting and negative for subsidence. Additionally, opposite signs of ± horizontal movement in both geometries indicate that the movement is from East to West (or vice versa). Results from the velocity and displacement maps and time series analysis suggest that creeping is associated mainly with normal faulting and could be the primary mechanism for strain distribution for the Southeastern part of the Dobi graben. The anomalous, continuous uplifting exhibited at the rift shoulder and in the horst area might be linked to the presence of temporary reactivation of normal faulting in the region. The oblique, positive LOS signals observed in different parts of the Dobi graben might serve as a proxy for understanding how strain is accommodated as normal faulting and is distributed in a distinct northeast direction. This explanation supports both the arguments for the Northeast migration of the triple junction and the transfer of strain from the southernmost Red Sea Rift (RSR) to the Central AD.

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Demissie, Z. S., & Rimmington, G. (2022). Surface Displacements Mechanism of the Dobi Graben from ASAR Time-Series Analysis of InSAR: Implications for the Tectonic Setting in the Central Afar Depression, Ethiopia. Remote Sensing, 14(8), 1845.
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