The seismicity of Ethiopia; active plate tectonics

Earthquake Information Bulletin (USGS)


  • The Publications Warehouse does not have links to digital versions of this publication at this time
  • Download citation as: RIS | Dublin Core


"But I tell you, when you look at the way the pieces of the northeastern portion of the African continent seem to fit together, separated by a narrow gulf, you could almost make a believer [in continental drift] of anybody" Astronaut Harrison Schmidt, on the view from Apollo 17.

Ethiopia, descended from the semimythical Kingdom of Punt, lies at the strategic intersection of Schmidt's jigsaw puzzle where the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the African Rift System meet. Because of geologically recent uplift combined with rapid downcutting erosion by rivers, notably the Blue Nile (Abbay), Ethiopia is the most mountainous country in Africa. It is also the most volcanically active, while its historical seismicity matches that of the midocean ridges. And, in a sense, Ethiopia is host to an evoloving ocean ridge system. 

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The seismicity of Ethiopia; active plate tectonics
Series title Earthquake Information Bulletin (USGS)
Volume 13
Issue 4
Year Published 1981
Language English
Publisher U.S Geological Survey
Description 10 p.
First page 124
Last page 133
Country Ethiopia
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N