Faulting and Uplift - Gondwana breaks up

The rift along the KwaZulu-Natal coast eventually widened into a narrow ocean similar to the present day Red Sea. Over millions of years this feature opened further to form the Indian Ocean. Evidence for this rifting is seen by the numerous faults which are concentrated along coastal KwaZulu-Natal. The largest of these - the Tugela Fault, has exploited the weakness formed between the Kaapvaal Craton and Natal Metamorphic Province.




About 140 million years ago Gondwana began to separate into two fragments West Gondwana (South America and Africa) and East Gondwana (Antarctica, India, Madagascar and Australia). This breakup initiated the formation of the Indian Ocean.



1) Gondwana is uplifted and faulted (rifted) along the boundary between Africa and Antarctica.

2) The rift widens. Oceanic crust is formed and sediment accumulates - the Indian Ocean is born.


3) Faulting ceases along the continental margins which are draped by sediment from rivers. New oceanic crust is continually formed at the mid-ocean ridge. (after Hamblin, Earth's Dynamic System)

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