Middle East Rift Zones

Article metrics


EARLIER this year we proposed a model for the evolution of the Middle East rift zones1. In this it was shown that the motion, of the three major crustal plates, Nubia, Somalia and Arabia, was such that it could be described as rotational about a single pole, the differing rates of rotation producing the intervening rift zones. In a criticism of this account, Roberts2 has proposed a modified model involving a three-plate, three-pole solution. This more general method should theoretically describe the motions of the plates more precisely than the one-pole, three-plate approximation which we adopted. The procedures and assumptions used by Roberts to determine the pole positions are, however, open to question, and hence his conclusions are of doubtful validity.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Gass, I. G., and Gibson, I. L., Nature, 221, 926 (1969).

  2. 2

    Roberts, D. G., Nature, 223, 55 (1969).

  3. 3

    Le Pichon, X., and Hertzler, J. R., J. Geophys. Res., 73, 6, 2101 (1968).

  4. 4

    Morgan, W. J., J. Geophys. Res., 73, 1959 (1968).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

GIBSON, I., GASS, I. Middle East Rift Zones. Nature 224, 791 (1969) doi:10.1038/224791a0

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.