Professor Tesfaye Kidane Birke

From Magnetostratigraphy to Paleogeography: A Journey Through Paleomagnetism.

The magnetic field of the earth is routinely recorded during rock formation processes and gets preserved for billions of years thereafter. This fossil magnetic field could be used for a spectrum of geoscientific applications such as determining age of rocks formation, regional tectonics and paleogeography. Spatial and temporal paleomagnetic studies in the Afar depression (open air laboratory for sea floor spreading) on Plio-Pleistocene volcanic rocks demonstrated that the numerous tectonic blocks bounded by NNW/SSE trending major faults have undergone systematic vertical axis block rotations in response to propagation, opening and overlapping of Gulf of Aden and Red Sea Ridges. A minor vertical axis rotation throughout the Main Ethiopian rift is determined in response to oblique rifting. Detailed magnetostratigraphic investigation on the 760 meters thick Plio-Pleistocene Hominid fossil rich fluvio-lacustrine sediments of the Shungura formations (Omo-Turkana basin) resulted in the identifications of multiple magnetozones from which an age depth plot for the entire sequence is developed. Paleomagnetic studies of the Edaga-Arbi tillites in northern Ethiopia resulted in a deposition age of late Carboniferous to early Permian which is equivalent to the Dwyka tillites in South Africa. The result also implied that the Late Carboniferous South African Dwyka land ice sheet had probably extended more than 1000 km further north to Ethiopia than previously known.

Invitation  | RSVP here



Full Professor, School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu Natal, Westville Campus, H1 Building, Room 117, Geology Department 4001, Durban, South Africa. Tel: 27 (0) 312608781, e-mail:

a. Professional Preparation

Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia                              Geology                                  B.Sc. in Geology, 1989

Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia                              Geology                                  M.Sc. in Structural Geology, 1993

Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, France          Internal Geophysics         Ph.D. in Tectonics, 1999

Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology        Postdoc Research             Ethiopian Food basalt, 2000

Kobe University                                                           Geology/Paleomagnetism       Postdoc-Kinematic evolution of Afar, 2007

b. Appointments

2017 – Present Full professor, UKZN, South Africa.

2015 – 17 Full Professor, School of Earth Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.

2016 – 16 (6 months) Visiting professor, Graduate School of Human and Environmental Sciences, Kyoto University.

2015 – 16 (9 months) African Fulbright Scholar, IRM, University of Minnesota, USA.

2013 – 15 Associate Professor, School of Earth Sciences, Addis Ababa University.

2012 – 13 Visiting professor, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Geology/Geophysics,

2011 – 11 Associate Professor, Geology, Addis Ababa University

2009 – 10 Research Associate Professor, Auxiliary Faculty of University of Utah

2005 – 08 JSPS fellows, Earth Science, Kobe University, Japan

2002 – 04 Assistant Professor and Associate Dean, Geology, Addis Ababa University

1999 – 00 Assistant Professor, Addis Ababa University

1994 – 95 Lecturer, Structural geology, Addis Ababa University

1989 – 93 Assistant lecturer, Geology, Addis Ababa University


c. Publications


Jaramillo-Vogel, D., Foubert, A., Braga, J.C., Schaegis, J.C., Atnafu, B., Grobety, B., Kidane, T. (2018) Pleistocene sea‐floor fibrous crusts and spherulites in the Danakil Depression (Afar, Ethiopia), Sedimentology, doi: 10.1111/sed.12484

Muluneh, A.A., Kidane, T., Corti, G., Keir, D. Constraints on fault and crustal strength of the Main Ethiopian rift from formal inversion of earthquake focal mechanism data, Tectonphysics, 731 – 732 (2018) 171 – 180.

Nugsse, K., Muluneh, A.A., Kidane, T. Paleomagnetic evidence for counterclockwise rotation of the Dofan magmatic segment, Main Ethiopian rift, Tectonophysics, 731 – 732 (2018) 85 – 94.

Erbello, A., Kidane, T. Timing of volcanism and initiation of rifting in the Omo-Turkana depression, southwest Ethiopia: Evidence from paleomagnetism, J. Afri. Earth Sci. 139 (2018) 319 – 329.

Muluneh, A.A., Cuffaro, M., Kidane, T. Along-strike variation in deformation style inferred from kinematic reconstruction and strain rate analysis: A case study of the Ethiopian Rift. Phy. Earth. Planet. Int. 27 (176-182), 2017.

Doelesso, A.E., G. Corti, A. Agostini, F. Sani, G. Mussetti, Kidane, T. Modeling along-axis variations in fault architecture in the Main Ethiopian Rift: implications for Nubia Somalia kinematics, J.Geodynamics, 102 (24-38), 2016.

Muluneh, A.A., Kidane, T., Marco Cuffaro, Carlo Doglioni, Torque Exerted on the Side of Crustal Blocks Controls the Kinematics of Ethiopian Rift. J.Afric.Earth.Sci.116(2016)1-8 004

Hyeon-seon, A., Kidane, T., Otofuji, Y., Y. Yamamoto, Low geomagnetic field intensity in the Matuyama Chron: Paleomagnetic study of the lava sequence from Afar depression, East Africa. Geophys. J. Int. (2016), doi: 10.1093/gji/ggv303.

Kidane, T.Strong clockwise block rotation of the Ali-Sabieh/A ̈ısha Block: evidence for opening of the Afar Depression by a ‘saloon-door’ mechanism in Wright, T. J., Ayele, A., Ferguson, D. J., Kidane T. & Vye-Brown, C. (eds) Magmatic Rifting and Active Volcanism. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 420, 2015.

Wright, T. J., Ayele, A., Ferguson, D. J., Kidane, T. & Vye-Brown, C. (eds) Magmatic Rifting and Active Volcanism. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 420, 2016 (ii) Up to five other significant publications

Balemwal Atnafu, Kidane, T., Anneleen Foubet, David Jaramillo-Vogel, Jean-Pierre Henriet, Jean-Charles Schaegis, Reading History from Afar: A look at the sedimentary record in northern Ethiopia tells the story of oceans past and may be the future. EOS, Vol. 96. N0.2. FEB. 2015.

Singer, B.S., Jicha, B.R., Condon, D.J., Macho, A.S., Hoffman, K.A., Dierkhising, J., Brown, M.C., Feinberg, J.M., Kidane, T. Precise ages of the Réunion event and Huckleberry Ridge excursion: episodic clustering of geomagnetic instabilities and the dynamics of flow within the outer core. Earth Planet. Sci., 405 (2014) 25-38.

Gaddisa Deyassa, Seifu Kebede, Tenalem Ayenew, Kidane, T. Crystalline basement aquifers of Ethiopia: Their genesis, classification, and aquifer properties. J. African. Earth.Sci., 100 (2014) 191–202.

Kidane, T, Bachtadse, V., Alene, M. Quaternary remagnetization of the Neoproterozoic limestone of Negash Synclinorium (Arabian–Nubian Shield, northern Ethiopia): With implications of no paleomagnetic testing for the proposed Snowball Earth events. Physics. Earth. Planet. Int. 10.1016/j.pepi.2014.07.005.2014.

Kidane, T. Paleomagnetic dating of Enticho Sandstone at Negash locality (Tigrai region, Northern Ethiopia), Implication for Quaternary Remagnetization. SINET: Ethiop. J. Sci., 37(1):000–000, ISSN: 0379–2897, 2014.

Kidane, T., Brown, F., Kidney, C. Magnetostratigraphy of the fossil rich Shungura Formation in southwest Ethiopia. J.African. Earth. Sci. 97 (2014)207-223.

Kidane, T., Bachtadse, V., Mulugeta Alene, Uwe Kirscher, Paleomagnetism of Paleozoic Glacial Sediments of Northern Ethiopia; a Contribution Towards African Permian Paleogeography, Geophy. J. Int. doi. 10.1093./gji/ggt336. 2013.

Kidane, T., Bachtadse, V., Alene, M., Kirscher, U. 2013. Paleomagnetism of Paleozoic Glacial Sediments of Northern Ethiopia; a Contribution Towards African Permian Paleogeography & The Pangea Configuration, Geophys. J. Int. doi:10.1093/gji/gjt336.

Corti, G., Philippon, M., Sani, F., Keir, D., & Kidane, T. 2013. Stress re-orientation and pure extensional faulting at oblique rift margins: comparison between data from the main Ethiopian Rift and laboratory experiments, Tera Nova DOI: 10.1111/ter.12049.

Atnafu, B., & Kidane, T. 2012. Age estimation of the deposition of the Cretaceous Upper Sandstone and a later Remagnetization event, from Hirna area, SE Ethiopia. Phys. Earth. Planet. Int. 176,190-191, doi.:10.1016/jpepi.2011.10.004.

Jacques, E., Kidane, T., Tapponier, P., Manighetti, I., Gaudemer, Y., Meyer, B., Ruegg, J.C., Audin, L. and Armijo, R. Normal Faulting during the August 1989 Earthquakes in central Afar: Sequential triggering and propagation of rupture along the Dobi graben, Seismological Research Letters; May/June 2011; v. 82; no. 3; p. 464-465; DOI: 10.1785/gssrl.82.3.4., 64, 2011.

Kidane, T., Otofuji, Y-I., Yutaka, K., Shibasaki, H., Yokoyama, M. Structural and geochronological implications of the Fentale Volcanics at a nascent passive margin of the Main Ethiopian Rift: Constraints from magnetostratigraphy study at the Kereyou Lodge, Ethiopia, Tectonophysics. Vol. 495. 3-4, 159-170, 2010. doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2010.09.004.

Ferguson, D.J., Barnie, T. D.,  Pyle, D. M., Oppenheimer, C., Yirgu, G., Lewi, E., Kidane, T., Carn, S., Hamling, I. 2010. Recent rift-related volcanism in Afar, Ethiopia, Earth. Planet. Sci.  Lett. 292, 3-4.

Kidane, T.,  Fuller, M.,  & Otofuji, Y.I. Shipboard Palaeomagnetic Age Estimates for an Acoustic Basement Emplacement in Marion Plateau, ODP Leg 194, NE Australia, Journal Australian Earth Sciences (2010) 57, (231-242).

Kidane, T., Otofuji, Y.I., Shibasaki, H., and Yutaka, K. Paleomagnetism of the Fentale-magmatic segment, main Ethiopian Rift: New evidence for counterclockwise block rotation linked to transtensional deformation, Phys.Earth.Planet.Int. 176, 109-123 (2009), doi.:10.1016/jpepi.2009.04.006

Tesfaye Kidane, T., Otofuji, Y.I., Brown, F., Takemoto, K., and Eshete, G. Two Normal paleomagnetic polarity intervals recorded in the Lower Matuyama Epoch in Sedimentary rocks of the Shungura Formation, Omo Valley, Southwest Ethiopia, Earth. Planet. Sci. Lett. 262 (2007) 240-256. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2007.07.047

Ayami K. Baba, Takaaki Matsuda, Tetsumaru Itaya, Yutaka Wada, Noriyuki Hori, Masahiko Yokoyama, Nobuaki Eto, Rieko Kamei, Haider Zaman, Tesfaye Kidane, and Yo-Ichiro Otofuji, New age constraints on counter-clockwise rotation of NE Japan, Geophys. J. Int. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2007.03513x.

Ayele, A., Jacques, E., Kassim, M., Kidane, T., Omar, A., Tait, S., Nercessian, A., de Chabalier, J.- B., King, G. 2007. The volcano-seismic crisis in Afar, Ethiopia, starting September 2005, Earth. Planet. Sci. Lett. 255 (2007) 177-187. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2006.12.014.

Rowland, J., Baker, E., Ebinger, C., Keir D., Kidane, T., Biggs, J., & Hayward, N. 2005. Fault growth at a nascent slow-spreading ridge: 2005 Dabbahu rifting episode, Afar, Geophys. J. Int, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2007.03584.x.

Kidane, T., Courtillot, V., Manighetti, I., Audin, L., Lahitte, P., Quidelleur, X., Gillot, P.- Y., Gallet, Y., Carlut, J., & Haile, T. 2003. New Paleomagnetic Results from Ethiopian Afar: Determination of a ~2Ma reference pole for stable Africa, and of block rotations linked to rift propagation, J. Geophys.Res., 107, doi:10.1029/2001JB000645.

Lahitte, P., Coulie, E., Kidane, T., Mercier, N., and Gillot, P.-Y.  K-Ar and TL volcanism chronology of the southern ends of the Red Sea spreading in Afar since 300 Ka, C.R. Acad.Sci. Paris, 332, 13-20, 2001a.

Carlut, J., Valet, J.-P., Quidelleur, X., Courtillot, V., Kidane, T., Gallet, Y., and P.- Y. Gillot, Paleointensity across the Reunion event in Ethiopia, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 170 , 17-34, 1999.

Kidane, T., Carlut, J., Courtillot, V., Gallet, Y., Quidelleur, X., Gillot, P.-Y. and Haile, T. Paleomagnetic and Geochronological Identification of the Reunion Subchron in Ethiopian Afar, J. Geophys. Res., 104, B5, 10,405-10,419, 1999.

Valet, J.P., Kidane, T., Soler, V., Brassart, J., Courtillot, V., and L. Meynadier, Remagnetization in lava flows, recording pretransitional directions, J. Geophys. Res., 103, 9755-9775, 1998.

d. Synergistic Activities

Associate editor of Tectonics (AGU) Journal since May 2017.

Editor of Geological Society London special volume420; Magmatic Rifting & Active Volcanism

CAG24 – 2012 field trip to Afar depression organizer and field leader.

Organizer of the Geoscience Symposium on the Western Ethiopian Shield organized by the Ethiopian Institute of Geological Survey, October 1999.

Chair of Department graduate committee 2007 – 2012

Member of Department Academic Committee 2002-2006

Served in various committees (curriculum review, student services) 2002 – PRESENT

Associate editor of Journal SINET, 2004 – 2006

Member of the Ethiopian Geosciences and Mineral Exploration Association since 1992

Member of the American Geophysical Union since 1997


e. Collaborators & Other Affiliations


Yo-Ichiro  Otofuji,  Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Kobe University, Japan

Ishikawa Nato, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Kyoto University; Japan.

Brad Singer, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA.

Thure Cerling and F. Brown , College of Mines, University of Utah, USA.

Valerian Bachtadse and Stuart Gilder, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Ludwig Maximilian – Munchene, Germany.

Manfred. Strecker, University of Potsdam, Germany.

John Geissman, Department of Geosciences, University of Texas at Dallas.

Anneleen Foubert, Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Switzerland.


(ii) Graduate and Postdoctoral Advisors

Professor Vincent Courtillot, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, France

Professor Yo -Ichiro Otofuji, Department of earth & Planetary Sciences, Kobe University, Japan.

Professor Valerian. Bachtadse, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Ludwig Maximilian – Munchen, Germany.

(iii) Thesis Advisor and Postgraduate Sponsor

Have supervised several M.Sc. students too many to list in the fields of Structural geology and co-advising M.Sc. and Ph.D students of Remote Sensing & GIS, Hydrogeology & Engineering students on structural geology aspects of their work.