Missouri State University
Department of Geography, Geology, and Planning

Missouri State


January, 2003

Dr. Mickus joined a team of scientists from the University of Texas at El Paso, Stanford University, University of Leicester, Leeds University, Addis Ababa University, the University of Edinburgh and the Ethiopian Geological Survey, and colleagues from throughout the United States and Europe to study the ongoing rifting processes in the Main Ethiopian Rift. EAGLE is major geophysical study to investigate how east Africa is splitting apart, especially the main Ethiopian Rift. The Ethiopian portion of the east African rift is especially important as it is the only location on Earth that involves the transition from purely continental rifting (e.g., Kenya) to purely oceanic rifting processes (Afar region, Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden). The present experiment will study the rifting processes from the center of the Ethiopian rift to the edge of the oceanic rifting in the Afar region.

The experiment was been divided into 3 phases, with phases 1 (started October, 2001) and 2 (started October, 2002) involving the continuous recording of earthquakes  from global and local events using broadband seismometers in order to investigate the mantle and deeper crustal structures within and below the rift. These studies will be helpful in determining the lateral and vertical  extent of the hot mantle zone and pockets of molten rocks within the active volcanic regions. Phase 3 which started in late December, 2003 and continued until the end of February, involved three main projects. The most important, expensive and time consuming was the active source seismic experiment. This experiment involved deploying seismic recorders at approximately an one kilometer spacing along two profiles (one along the axis of the rift, another perpendicular to the rift) and a 3-D array of recorders surrounding and amongst the Nazareth volcanic region. As a source for the seismic energy, 19 explosions in 100-200 foot drillholes were distributed within the region encompassing the survey. In addition, detailed gravity data were collected (by Mickus and Dr. Abera of the University of Addis Ababa) between Awash and Nazareth, and magnetotelluric data were collected along the cross profile that will aid in the interpretation of the seismic data.

A rough overview of the entire experiment and some of the sights  we saw are shown on the following 6 pages.

(click on image to see larger version)

link to image of slump in the Jackfork Formation at Big Rock Quarry in North Little Rock
Location and major cities of Ethiopia within eastern Africa
link to image of channel margin at Big Rock Quarry
General location of the cross and axial active source seismic profiles within the main Ethiopian Rift
link to image of quarry wall in North Little Rock
Detailed location of the seismic profiles with the locations of the seismic shot points
link to image of east end of large channel in Big Rock Quarry
Crustal/upper mantle models of the rifting processes within continental rifting (Kenya), oceanic rifting (Red Sea) and proposed transitional rifting (this experiment). Our results will either confirm this model or aid in developing new models
link to image of close-up of eastern edge of large channel
Our base was in the capital of Addis Ababa, this shows the main road from the airport to the Ghion Hotel
link to image of close-up of eastern edge of large channel
The Ghion Hotel, the main headquarters
link to image of prominent spaced cleavage
The whole EAGLE crew at the Ghion
link to image of sandstone injection dike cutting recumbent fold
Peter Maguire  of  Leicester University, one of the big chiefs
link to image of refolded fold
Randy Keller (another big chief) of UTEP giving a talk about previous studies of the east African and other rifts
link to group photo 1
Simon Klemperer (yet another big chief) of Stanford. The leader of the 3-D seismic arrary experiment
link to group photo 2
Before the actual experiment, all western and Ethiopian scientists met at the Ghion to discuss logistics for the next 3 weeks
link to image of refolded fold
The main Ethiopian orthodox church in Addis from the Ghion. This church was the source of many sleepless mornings
link to group photo 1
The Ethiopian orthodox church on the road to the equipment center in Addis
link to group photo 2
A minivan (blue donkey) in Addis, an easy and cheap way to get around town


Return to Kevin Mickus' Homepage

Missouri State University Copyright © 2002 Board of Governors, Missouri State University
Page created and maintained by Kevin Mickus
Last revised: March 31, 2010 .