The Aden-Afar Margins Working Group is part of the scientific coordination program Actions Marges, a French initiative for cross disciplinary research on continental margins.
The Gulf of Aden – Afar rift system is one of the world rare examples where continental breakup can be studied. The advantage of this site is that it is well exposed onshore, and beneath a thin sediment cover offshore. The obliquel spreading rift has several large-offset transforms that control the first-order along-axis segmentation of the spreading system. Good evidence exist that the segmentation is inherited from the initial rift stages.
Three key aspects of lithospheric extension are particularly debated: (1) the mechanics of extreme extension and how crust thins to only a few kilometres thick without showing evidence for normal faulting, (2) the thermal structure of the extending lithosphere, (3) the initiation, importance and mechanical effects of melting associated with lithospheric extension.