Crustal structure on the northeastern flank of the Kenya rift

Prodehl C, Jacob AWB, Thybo H, Dindi E, Stangl R. "Crustal structure on the northeastern flank of the Kenya rift." Tectonophysics. 1993;236:271-290.


The KRISP flank line E converges with the Kenya rift at an angle of about 45° and is approximately parallel to the older Anza graben to the north. The depth to the basement is almost zero along the entire onshore part of the profile with higher velocities at the southeastern end indicative of extensive Precambrian gabbroic intrusions in the upper crust. The Moho shallows steadily from about 35 km at the southeastern end of the profile to about 24 km under-Lake Turkana. Even though the Moho rises fairly steadily, there is significant heterogeneity in the crust above it. This shows that the extension is unevenly distributed between the upper and the lower crust. The Moho is laminated and variably reflective. Compared to the KRISP cross-line D further south, the crust is unexpectedly thin and shows extension increasing in a northerly direction. This extension is probably not associated with the Anza and Kenya rifting but with the profile’s position on the slope of the Kenya dome. The indications are that there is a relatively abrupt change to a 20-km Moho depth near the Lake Turkana Central shotpoint. This change to a mid-rift crustal thickness occurs not at the postulated margin at the southeastern shore of Lake Turkana but at least 50 km further to the northwest. We suggest that the position of this margin may need to be redefined. The Pn velocity is quite high at 8.1 km/s. This may indicate either a cold upper mantle or anisotropy. An upper-mantle reflector has been identified between 15 and 20 km below the Moho. It dips gently away from the rift.

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