Lithospheric extension and the opening of the Red Sea: sediment‐basalt relationships in Yemen

Martin Menzies*, Dan Bosence, Hamed A. El‐Nakha, Salah Al‐Khirbash, Mohamed A. Al‐Kadasi, Abdulkarim Al Subbary

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


This paper analyses new field and radiometric age data on the timing of extension, sedimentation and magmatism related to the opening of the Red Sea. The first evidence of widespread extension is found in synsedimentary fissures in the fluviatile to shallow marine Tawilah Formation of Cretaceous to early Tertiary age. The first indication of magmatism is the eruption of alkaline basalts (43.5–21.2 Ma) on to marine and non‐marine sandstones of lower to middle Tertiary age. The lack of an angular unconformity at the sediment‐basalt contact, over a period of 25 Myr, corroborates a diachronous relationship between the Tawilah sandstones and the Yemen Volcanics. These data also indicate that the onset of volcanism in Yemen was in the Eocene, as is the case in Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia. A passive rifting model is supported by early extension and sedimentation followed by syn‐ and post‐tectonic magmatism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-350
Number of pages11
JournalTerra Nova
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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