Continental rifting is a fundamental aspect of the Earth's plate tectonic cycle, leading to the development of rift basins and eventually to continental break-up as well as the formation of divergent margins and new oceans. Studying rift basins and divergent margins is of great importance since they comprise the most complete record of global change on Earth, encompassing the geochemical (and geodynamic) variations that accompany the break-up of continents. In parallel, they contain both widely investigated and still unexplored and unassessed natural resources, which are all crucial for a successful energy transition, whilst also representing one of the main loci of geohazards on Earth. In order to keep improving our knowledge of rifting, continental break-up processes, and divergent margin formation, as well as to cover the current and future needs of global society, we need to continue expanding and developing our scientific approaches as well as to further explore new ideas and challenge established interpretations.
This special issue aims to approach the study of extensional tectonics and continental break-up from a novel and dynamic viewpoint by compiling state-of-the-art research from varied Earth science disciplines, with a specific interest in research relevant to the (future) needs of our global society. We invite general and case studies with a focus on (but not limited to) three main subtopics detailed below, and we especially welcome contributions that build bridges between these topics:
• rift and divergent margin development,
• geo-resources (past, present, and future), geo-storage, and sustainability; and
• natural and induced hazards.