Rifted margins: State of the art and future challenges

Gwenn Peron-Pinvidic, Gianreto Manatschal, Tiago Alves, Torgeir Andersen, Miguel Andres-Martinez, Julia Autin, Philip Ball, Sascha Brune, Susanne Buiter, Patricia Cadenas, Derren Cresswell, Marie Eva Epin, Júlia Gómez-Romeu, Mohamed Gouiza, Caroline Harkin, Christian Heine, John Hopper, Christopher Jackson, Laurent Jolivet, Richard KatzRodolphe Lescoutre, Gael Lymer, Craig Magee, Manu Masini, Jordi Miro, Nicolas Molnar, Frederic Mouthereau, Othmar Muntener, John Naliboff, James Norcliffe, Per Terje Osmundsen, Lucía Pérez Díaz, Thomas Phillips Philips, Adrià Ramos, Cesar Ranero, Tim Reston, Charlotte Ribes, Tyrone Rooney, Mark Rowan, Marco Snidero, Julie Tugend, Lijie Wang, Frank Zwaan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


Improvements in seismic imaging, computing capabilities, and analytical methods, as well as a number of industry deep-water wells sampling distal offshore settings, have underpinned new concepts for rifted margin evolution developed in the last two decades; these mark significant progress in our understanding of extensional systems. For example, the tectonic, sedimentary, and magmatic processes linked to the formation of rifted margins have been overhauled, giving rise to more quantitative approaches and new concepts. However, these processes cannot be understood in isolation, requiring consideration of the continuum in which inheritance and physical processes are integrated within a plate tectonic framework. The major progress and fundamental developments of past research in rifted margins have been made hand-in-hand with other domains of Earth Sciences and have fundamental implications for the understanding of key geological systems such as active rifts, the ocean lithosphere, subduction zones, and collisional orogens. The “IMAGinING RIFTING” workshop, organized in Pontresina-Switzerland in September 2017, gathered researchers from all disciplines working on rifts and rifted margins, and included participants from academia and industry. This contribution summarizes the workshop discussions, in addition to outlining our state-of-the-art knowledge of rifted margins. We highlight future challenges in unraveling the processes and conditions under which these extensional systems form and, ultimately, how tectonic plates rupture and new oceans are born. Our aims here are to provide a framework for future research endeavors and to promote collaboration not only within the rift and rifted margins communities, but across other Earth Science disciplines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number218
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Earth Science
Publication statusPublished - 22 Aug 2019


  • orogen architecture
  • rifted margin
  • sedimentary basin
  • subduction
  • tectonic/sedimentation

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources


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